What can UK SMEs do to achieve better growth prospects?
Despite these constraints, there are a number of steps that SMEs can take to improve their growth prospects. Here are just a few.
Investing in staff training
A recent survey conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Pearson Education found that more than third (39%) of the 294 firms surveyed were struggling to recruit employees with advanced, technical STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills. John Cridland, CBI Director-General, argues that this skills gap needs to be addressed to prevent the UK losing more ground against other countries in Europe and beyond.
In order to address this skills gap, SME’s may want to direct their focus towards comprehensive training programmes that will help furnish new employees with the skills needed to help companies move towards growth. The level of investment in this area can be varied according to companies’ individual budgets.
Embrace new technology
Keeping abreast of developments in technology and incorporating these into business operations will help to ensure that SMEs are able to compete on both a national and global level.
A survey commissioned earlier this year by TalkTalk Business, based on Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ICAEW), revealed that 80% of businesses felt technology played an integral role in their future success. This was due to the fact that technology helped businesses to reach a wider customer base as well as improving their overall operations.
Take control of cash flow
When it comes to business cash is still king, which is why many businesses falter when their cash flow management falls into disarray.
A Forum of Private Business survey found that more than a third (38%) of SMEs found cash flow to be their most pressing concern – up from 33% in 2012.
One method businesses are using to remedy cash flow problems, according to a study by O2 Business, is to rent or lease rather than buy equipment, thus reducing their upfront costs. As much as 36% of businesses argued this strategy helped give them more control over their cash flow.
If your business is struggling in the current climate, you may want to seek professional advice on receivership options.