Retaining customers, remaining financially solvent, and expanding and diversifying are key challenges for small businesses. The new financial year presents an opportunity to reconsider business practices and plan for success.

Concur advises small businesses of four tips for a successful new financial year:

1. Put customers first to improve retention
Businesses can readily access technology and data to implement customer-oriented services. Offering birthday discounts, personalised emails, and other human touches can make customers feel special, earning their loyalty.
Matt Goss said, “Going the extra mile for your customers can mean the difference between them choosing your company over another.”
2. Take charge of your finances to stay ahead
A qualified professional can show businesses how to set up their accounts and provide ongoing financial guidance.
Smart cloud services that save time and automate manual processes, such as tracking credit card spending and supplier invoices, can also help with managing accounts.
3. Make a smart plan for the future to keep growing
A plan for continual growth should outline where the business wants to be within a certain timeframe and the strategy to get there. The plan should include ways to better understand customer pain points and motivations because business growth largely depends on their satisfaction.
Matt Goss said, “Asking customers, partners and employees about ways to improve the current product can help develop solutions and services that people need and want.”
4. Automate what you can
Research shows that 80 per cent of organisations still rely on employee spend data that is manually entered by employees Forrester Research, The Power of Real-Time Insight, 2014. This creates opportunities for errors and it can prevent organisations from getting clear visibility into how much is being spent by which employees on what items.  

Automation is the most reliable way to clean up an organisation’s expense management. When supplier invoices and employee expenses are managed via spreadsheets or paper-based forms, mistakes are bound to be made and duplicated. By contrast, organisations that implement automated, integrated, end-to-end spend management systems can reap the benefits of time-savings, better cash flow management, increased visibility and reporting. Automation can also deliver a better understanding of where employees are, especially if they are travelling, and how to maximise employee satisfaction and productivity.

Matt Goss said, “The learning process is constant and, as businesses experience successes and failures, new understandings emerge of works and what doesn’t. By focusing on customers, getting finances in order, and carefully planning the next steps forward, small businesses can give themselves the best chance at succeeding in the new financial year.”