|As we entered 2022, we were still blinking into the daylight, emerging from the gloom of Covid-19 restrictions. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable to be looking forward with hope; hope that 2022 would be a year for recovery and possibly even some growth.|
Since entering 2022, far from stability, we have faced, and are facing, domestic political turmoil, war in Europe, unparalleled inflation and strikes. Yes, the outlook is bleak, but as we take a look back, there are notable nuggets of positivity.
Whilst our climate is on a knife edge, the war in Ukraine, and resulting energy crisis, has focused the mind. No longer can we rely on damaging fossil fuels and discussions surrounding more sustainable fuel are increasing at pace. At Sparkstone we’re delighted to support Ecologi, making Sparkstone climate positive.
What was, 3 years ago, the realm of the tech-savvy is now commonplace. As such, businesses who operate hybrid working arrangements are seeing increased productivity and staff morale. The work / life balance of those able to work remotely has significantly increased and it’s safe to say that the traditional full-time office-based scenario is a thing of the past.
Another benefit of the hybrid system is the expansion of the recruitment pool. No longer do positions need to be filled by those within commute distance. Choices for both employers and prospective employees have increased. Sparkstone have always worked with businesses to make their Enterprise Systems as flexible as possible, and this is never more essential – building business systems that are available to all, wherever they’re working is vital including:
• Mobile sales enabling stock levels to be updated in real time
• Linked CRM and VoIP telephony providing vital client data
• Retail systems that are aligned for the high street and online sales
Businesses are increasingly outsourcing certain job roles. As the technology and communication channels needed for remote working have evolved at pace, so too have the ways in which businesses can engage with external suppliers. As with remote working, suppliers do not need to be within a stone’s throw of the client – they can potentially be anywhere in the world that has internet access.
Traditional hierarchical structures and job specs are becoming increasingly blurred. Businesses enjoy the flexibility and cost savings arising from the use of outsourced services. Suppliers are able to offer their services to a much wider audience. At Sparkstone we offer holistic consultancy services enabling businesses to benefit from:
• Extensive business experience and knowledge to help drive strategy and growth
• Technology provision and expertise without the need for in-house support
No one can ignore digital
The days when businesses could display laggard tendencies towards technology is definitely over! Very few, if any, businesses can survive let alone thrive without embracing some amount of reliance on technology. The pandemic forced us all to adopt digital developments faster than would have otherwise taken place, and those developments are here to stay. Would it now be acceptable to admit that you don’t use Zoom, Skype or Teams, for example? And how would you manage your accounts without software?
On basic survival levels, technology is pretty-much essential, but for growth and competitive edge, it’s absolutely vital. Consumers no longer anticipate or expect sluggish digital service, for example. We all demand a sleek online presence and are intolerant of systems that don’t offer an intuitive and nimble platform.
Enterprise System Software is being adopted by businesses that understand how critical aligned and agile systems are for success. As different business functions work via a central hub, increasing efficiency, productivity and job satisfaction, so too does the customer experience improve. Work with Sparkstone to develop your Enterprise System Software and your business will be far better placed to compete and thrive no matter what the external economic circumstances.
Cost pressures continue to dominate
There’s no escaping inflationary pressures. Whilst future forecasts seem to indicate a settling, only time will tell – as we’ve all learnt to appreciate, very little is predictable!
In our last emailer we pointed at our blog on cost saving measures, so won’t labour the point. But we’re always here to help, offering both consultancy and technology solutions for efficiency and growth.
Short form video becomes mainsteam
Kids demonstrated the power of the short form video as they took to TikTok like ducks to water. Established social media platforms saw the advantages of this type of content and launched their own versions with videos of 1-2minutes now a marketer’s dream. YouTube remains popular, though an outlier with videos around the 10minute mark, but then they are solely a video platform.
It could be argued that keeping in touch with customers has never been easier, although conversely, they reside in so many different places – how do you know where to reach them! Using platforms like Sparkstone’s CRM will help you to understand your customers better and communicate with them wherever they are. Used in conjunction with Sparkstone’s Ecommerce and Back Office functions, you’ll have a formula for success.
Small businesses are better able to compete
It’s now much easier to appear big. Having a humungous bricks and mortar shopfront or office is no longer essential to host a thriving business. A phenomenal digital presence can belie the size or location of a business. Successful small businesses are recognising that by providing a streamlined system for both customers, staff and suppliers, they can swiftly adapt and take advantage of selling opportunities.
Small businesses that engage with Sparkstone have access to our consultancy and software systems, enabling them to develop big business practices and compete effectively.
Reflect and plan
As we’ve learnt over recent years, it’s pretty-much impossible to predict what will happen next. We need to assume that we’ll bit hit by recession, that costs remain high and that consumer and business spending will be down. But we mustn’t look down – we must face the future with as much positivity and determination as we can muster. And as we look forwards, we must keep our eyes peeled – for opportunities and threats, planning as we go.
If you’re struggling to see the wood for the trees within your own business, particularly during times of turmoil, Sparkstone are here for you. With our holistic business consultancy and technology services, we’ll help you both see the bigger picture, and drill into essential details.
Review of 2022