Small and midsize businesses are operating in an extraordinary business environment marked by economic uncertainty and increasing global competition. Yet, they are rising to the challenge -- rethinking ways of working, re-evaluating market opportunities, and building relationships that meet customers' expectations more closely.
Oxford Economics recently conducted a study of 2,100 SMEs in 21 countries, entitled SMEs: Equipped to Compete. One of the key findings of the study is that tough economic times have created more necessity to innovate and think globally. SMEs are responding; and not just by behaving like multinationals – they’re competing effectively against them.
How are SME's Challenging Competitors?
Many SMEs are focusing on enterprise mobility as a key driver of innovation. One in four survey respondents said mobile technology has paid off in terms of better customer service and product and service development. The survey findings also highlight a major shift in consumer expectations – they want a high quality, 24/7 experience across every channel and touch point.
SMEs are keenly focused on business analytics, indicating a commitment to technology as a platform for future expansion. In the study, over half of the respondents said that driving innovation, cost reductions, and efficiencies were their most immediate and important goals. Plus, over two-thirds believe they have the technology and capabilities to match large enterprises – defying common myths about SMEs being slow to adopt technology.
While the international arena may be dominated by large corporations, SMEs are effectively challenging these formidable rivals. And, they are doing so by forming alliances with suppliers and vendors and by collaborating via online business networks and platforms. It’s a strategy that’s paying off, with more than 60% of both the largest and most profitable SMEs engaged in collaboration.
Nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents strongly believe that technology helps them achieve longevity and sustainable growth indicating that technological advances are contributing to a more level playing field for businesses of every size.