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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?

Preparing for ISO 9000 - checklist

The ISO 9000 family of standards helps businesses put quality management processes in place. Read our tips for improving customer satisfaction and getting accredited under ISO 9000.

  • Read through the standards: ISO 9000 (which explains the terms used), ISO 9001 (the main standard) and ISO 9004 (continual improvement) to make sure you understand them.
  • Contact your trade association or local chamber of commerce for advice (and information on any grants) and decide what training or consultancy support you need.
  • Make sure you have management commitment to understanding and meeting customers' needs; prepare a simple company quality policy.
  • Plan the quality project: allocate resources and personnel, clarify responsibilities and set realistic objectives and timescales.
  • Identify all the critical activities which directly affect customer satisfaction and how they interact.
  • Include other activities covered in the standard: for example, design, purchasing, production and service operations.
  • Involve employees in analysing your current processes. Explain the aim of improving quality and how they can contribute.
  • Prepare clear documentation describing the agreed best method for carrying out each process, together with related instructions.
  • Establish a system for authorising each process (and for controlling and authorising subsequent amendments).
  • Identify quality indicators and set standards (e.g. response times, minimum quality standards).
  • Implement the processes: communicate them to employees and provide any training required.
  • Appoint and train an internal auditor.
  • Regularly audit processes to make sure systems are followed and standards achieved.
  • Correct any problems. For example, by revising processes to reflect changed circumstances or by strengthening implementation.
  • Contact the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) for details of an approved certification body to assess whether you meet the standard.

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