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The importance of business knowledge for SMEs

Julianne Leybag
03 July 2017 4 minute readShare
coffee business ideas chalk drawing importance of business knowledge

All kinds of businesses face tough competition. Here’s how to build a comprehensive knowledge bank so business owners can stay ahead of the competition and make sure their business thrives.

Business knowledge is a business owner’s extensive reservoir of understanding on customers’ needs and preferences, business environments and their dynamics, staff skills, experiences and potentials, and the business’ overall foreseeable direction.

When effectively gathering and utilising business knowledge, a continued and optimal business growth, as well as more opportunities for financial success, may be ensured.

Sources of business knowledge

General sources of business knowledge include:

  • Market and needs analyses
  • Employee and supplier networks
  • Business environment and dynamics
  • Product and service research and development

Market and needs analyses

Market and needs analyses are used to expand the knowledge pool of business owners,  increase general operations, and clarifies business’ long-term objectives and plans.

Understanding current customers’ and potential ones’ needs, wants, and their purchasing tendencies will lead to easier adaptation of products and services to ensure customer satisfaction.

Develop a mutually beneficial relationship with customers by establishing an easily accessible line of communication. Social media presence can help. Communicate and engage with customers to allow a clear image of their future requirements.

Employee and supplier networks

The opinions of employees and suppliers are important. Opinions can include impressions on the performance of business owners and how the business responds to relevant concerns.

Business owners can conduct online surveys through mobile applications or meet them personally and have an informal chat with them to get this information directly.

Business environment and dynamics

Outside factors and stimuli including developments in local and international politics and economy, technology, and the society can affect business goals and the business’ development.  

Keep a sharp sense of business while considering if adapting to these factors is the best option.

Product and service research and development

Business owners must continually utilise scientific and technical research and developments on products and services to pave innovation in the line(s) of production or service offering(s).

Be sure to retain the business’ accumulated expertise through the years. Through this, business owners can formalise sharing and improving on employees’ best practices. This is where the procedural guidelines and standards will come from.

Benefits of business knowledge

When business owners maximise and utilise their business knowledge, they can enjoy the following benefits:

  • Business efficiency
  • Improved products and services
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Staff productivity
  • Knowledge licensing and sales

Business efficiency

Business owners will be able to intensify and strengthen their business efficiency using their expertise as reflected in better business standards, processes, products, and services.

Improved products and services

Business owners should utilise their business knowledge to efficiently bring products and services closer to their customers and target market.

Acknowledging and reacting quickly to market trends and developments will help design and customise products to respond to the demands of customers and get business owners ahead of the competition. Devise strategic ways to deliver products and services in the best possible quality that can be offered.

Customer satisfaction

When business owners deliver quality products and services that respond to the needs and wants of customers, it is important to maintain and grow a satisfied market base.

Customer satisfaction is an indicator of a thriving business. Utilise business knowledge to streamline all specific goals and processes to achieve and maintain customer satisfaction.

Staff productivity

With knowledge sharing, employees can mutually benefit from each other’s knowledge and expertise in daily business operations. This continual enrichment of employees’ best practices through knowledge sharing results in better operations, better products and services, and the speedy realisation of all business objectives.

When business owners listen to their employees and make them feel their opinions are highly valued and vital to the business’ overall progress, there is a familial sense created in them. Once they feel appreciated, they will likely perform their roles and responsibilities the best way they can.

Knowledge licensing and sales

Look into ways to share expertise and go into knowledge licensing.

Look into advisory or consultancy opportunities outside the business. Make sure, to have an extensive and comprehensive knowledge bank and a secure and protected intellectual property before sharing them with other businesses and individuals. Speak with and engage the services of a trusted lawyer with proven expertise in knowledge sharing and licensing.

Making knowledge a cornerstone of your business

Create a business culture that values and places very high regard on knowledge and knowledge sharing.

Offer incentives and rewards to employees and staff who not only supply useful market developments but also find ways in utilising said market news to upgrade the current line of products/services or design new ones to respond to said market demands and developments.

Business owners should make sure to protect their intellectual property. With a trusted lawyer or with a legal team, ascertain that competitors can’t illegally copy the business’ knowledge items. This means that they can only employ these ideas once they acquire a license to do so, allowing business owners more opportunities to profit from their knowledge reservoir.

Business leaders should protect and secure their knowledge base by developing a system to conveniently store, retrieve, update, and combine information. Store digitally or traditionally (on paper) files, knowledge items which contain all information on offerings (products and services), processes, systems, and any other relevant data and design an effective storing system that protects them from being illegally accessed or pirated.

Information technology and managing the knowledge reservoir

A business should employ information technology to gain knowledge and manage their business knowledge reservoir. Today’s digital advancements offer various ways and systems to update, upgrade, and customise specific knowledge items to add value to the business and satisfy business goals.

Look into building and fortifying a database or sets of databases. Consider a data warehouse. Engage in data mining where the collected data are sorted and determined by patterns and levels of complexities. Business owners may also consider data interpreting technology by looking into reporting and querying tools that let users pragmatically interpret data in a particular way.

Never undermine the Internet’s capacity. It can be a  tool to gain more business knowledge and update, upgrade, and generally sophisticate a business’ knowledge bank.

The importance of business knowledge for SMEs
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Julianne Leybag

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