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A marketing strategy will help you identify your best customers, understand their needs and implement the most effective marketing methods.

The internet has transformed business marketing. No matter what you do, the internet is likely to be at the heart of your marketing strategy.

Social media is firmly established as a marketing tool. Having a presence opens up new lines of communication with existing and potential customers.

Good advertising puts the right marketing message in front of the right people at the right time, raising awareness of your business.

Customer care is at the heart of all successful companies. It can help you develop customer loyalty and improve relationships with your customers.

Sales bring in the money that enables your business to survive and grow. Your sales strategy will be driven by your sales objectives.

Market research exists to guide your business decisions by giving you insight into your market, competitors, products, marketing and your customers.

Direct marketing can be a highly successful way to generate sales from existing and new customers. Find out how to target them in the best way.

Exhibitions and events are valuable for businesses because they allow face-to-face communication and offer opportunities for networking.

PR

Favourable media coverage can bring a range of business benefits. But how do you attract the attention of editors, broadcasters and journalists?

SMEs to get more government contracts under new plan

12 March 2019

Engineers examining documents on clipboard at construction site against clear skyA new SME Action Plan has been launched to unlock opportunities for smaller businesses to access government contracts.

Under the plan, the government has set a target for £1 in every £3 it spends to be with smaller businesses by 2022. It means that by then, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will have spent an extra £35 million with UK small and medium-sized businesses.

"The UK's 5.7 million SMEs make a massive contribution to the economy. These businesses may be small but their impact is huge, employing 16 million people and accounting for £1.9 trillion of turnover," said small business minister Kelly Tolhurst.

"Key to their continued success is ensuring the government is open and transparent in its procurement processes, giving smaller businesses every opportunity to bid for and win contracts … One important measure we will introduce is to require BEIS Group's biggest suppliers to monitor and report SME spend in their supply chain arising from BEIS contracts."

The plan will also require the government's large suppliers to advertise their sub-contracting opportunities on Contracts Finder.

The SME Action Plan has been welcomed by the National Enterprise Network. Alex Till, chair of the National Enterprise Network, said: "Making more local government contracts available to small business is hugely welcome, and the commitment to ensure £1 in every £3 will be spent with small businesses by 2022 is a good target."

However, he added: "Many small businesses … do not have the time and skills to complete the complex paperwork associated with government procurement and simply find themselves at the end of an unprofitable sub-contract. We will be relying on the government to simplify the paperwork as a key part of the SME Action Plan."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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