With high expectations for recovery, prospects are looking good and especially for the more agile small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector. Nevertheless, success is never guaranteed and Regus CEO Mark Dixon offers Seven Tips For SME’s to ride on the wave of recovery and succeed in 2010.

According to Regus Group global chief executive officer Mark Dixon, “Businesses need to learn from the lows of 2008 and 2009 and make changes to their future strategies and operations now –  before the recovery happens, rather than wait.”  Dixon also believes that SMEs’ have strong prospects ahead if they take steps now to become smarter, greener and more successful and he offers seven tips to get SMEs going.

Tip 1: Think small

Businesses of all sizes could learn from the example of small businesses. According to the Regus Business Tracker Study, companies with fewer than 50 employees are more bullish about 2010 than their larger counterparts, suggesting the economic recovery will be led by them.

There are evidences that smaller companies are more adept at marketing and customer retention, while large firms struggle with internal concerns like cost management and staffing.

Tip 2: Take a trip

Companies should not let international boundaries stand in their way when it comes to focusing externally.

China, India and other emerging economies have huge potential for future growth.

With communication technologies becoming ever more advanced and ever cheaper, doing business abroad can fuel future growth prospects.

Research into new markets is key, as is finding the right international partners. Otherwise, costs can begin to spiral out of control.

Tip 3: Work smarter

Businesses all over the world are looking at the cost of headcount but many neglect to look at other fixed costs.

“For the majority of businesses, property is the second biggest fixed overhead.

Even so, 95% of businesses fail to identify it as an area where they could make major savings.

“Instead of locking themselves into costly, fixed-term property arrangements, they should look at more flexible arrangements, such as short- or medium-term leases, or virtual working,” he says.

He says flexible working can reduce a company’s property costs by up to 60% whilst creating a more motivated workforce.

Tip 4: Go green

Leverage on more energy efficient technologies.

Cost-saving, green technologies like energy monitors, and zonal air-conditioning and lighting can significantly cut utility bills.

He says organisations like the Malaysian Department of Environment can give advice on energy-efficient technologies and grants.

In addition virtual and flexible working can reduce a company’s travel costs, as well as cutting employees’ carbon footprints, according to him.

Tip 5: Look around

“Recovery or no recovery, some sectors have been thriving even during the recession. Telecoms, for example, is strong globally, with many developing countries installing new mobile technology.” he says, adding that sustainable technology is also doing well.

He says businesses of all sizes should look for ways to benefit from the opportunities in thriving sectors, and never get so trapped by day-to-day management that they fail to spot new openings.

Tip 6: Outsource

Companies should focus on revenue- generating activities and outsource the rest.

“Property, administration and support services can all be handled by other people, allowing businesses to concentrate on the activities they do best,” he says.

Tip 7: Network

This is vital for meeting new customers and contacts, and gathering information and advice.

“It’s one of the easiest ways to generate new business,” he says.