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SME checklist – 8 things you need to do in October 2015

October means preparations for the holidays so make sure you are prepared for the busiest time of year. Our essential need-to-knows – from energy to technology – will help you this month.

  1. Plan for Black Friday

It’s that time again. And if your business is getting involved this November 27, make sure you’re prepared. After surveying 250 small business owners, Royal Mail recently issued a warning that SMEs weren’t applying lessons learned from last year. Up to 3.1 million businesses run the risk of not being able to meet customer expectations. The survey found only 38% of SMEs have extended their ‘delivery window’ to allow more time to get deliveries to consumers, with just 36% working with their delivery provider to forecast volumes.

  1. Make time for a social media audit

Are you using the right platforms? Where are your customers sharing and engaging? And, crucially, where are your competitors? There’s no point investing time in Facebook and Twitter alone, if the action’s happening over at Snapchat. Put time in the diary for a monthly review, consider social media training and involve your staff so you don’t miss a thing.

  1. Reconsider your audience

While social is vital, don’t ignore a huge group of potential customers who may not be using it. Over-55s are more likely to be influenced by reading blogs, shopper feedback, news stories and Google reviews, according to new research from digital agency, Greenlight. This so-called ‘grey pound’ is often neglected as brands focus on social media platforms.

  1. Review your payment system

The CEO of Starbucks credits the coffee chain’s recent growth thanks to an investment in digital technology. Can you add Apple Pay (recently launched in the UK) to your payment terminals? Are you offering contactless? Keeping up with the latest changes shouldn’t be a headache and will pay off in the long-term.

  1. Ditch the printer

Printers take up space, waste paper and cost you in maintenance and ink. So switch them off when you can and make some easy savings. What’s more, you can download free apps to help manage your energy consumption across your devices, hassle free.

  1. Make your emails work harder

Does your email signature contain an offer or a link to your blog? Are you sending regular mail-outs? Can your invoices include an incentive for next time? Done properly, every bit of contact you make could earn you and your company more work and shout about the great things you’re doing.

  1. Check out new technology

HP’s new laptop, desktop and all-in-one PC products have been designed with SMEs in mind, and the brand says it wants to help smaller companies who may have little or no in-house IT staff, avoid security risks while keeping up with new trends in workplace technology. They are ready to buy in stores from the end of September.

  1. Save on business energy

With the colder months in sight, now’s a good time to look at your energy plan. Switching to energy-saving equipment can save on your bills, and there may be funding to help you make the change. Interest-free loans are available to SMEs in Wales and Northern Ireland who want to move to energy-efficient equipment and renewable technologies, from the Carbon Trust.

If you can spare 20 minutes, you could save an average of 26% on your business energy bills. We can compare business energy suppliers and switch you to a new deal without you having to fill out time consuming paperwork. Give us a call on 0330 0100 251 (or request a call back using our form).

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