Why SME leaders need a management focus

When looking to grow a business it can be difficult for owners to know whether they are spending enough time on the aspects that really matter.

While ensuring that their business survives from one day to the next is key, individuals also need to spend enough time managing their business.

A failure to do so can result in inefficiencies which may result in higher operating costs or even missed opportunities.

Research suggests that between one fifth and one quarter of business owners are not spending enough time on managing rather than ensuring survival.

Having a clear business strategy involves identifying targets and goals that a business should meet in the long term – from sales or finance totals to levels of recruitment.

A strategy should cover all of the traditional aspects of business such as staff and supplier management to covering potential risks.

In order to grow and to take advantage of alternative finance options, financial information should be collated and borrowing proposals drawn up.

For those that are unable to refinance effectively for whatever reason, investor support may also be available from institutions such as the British Business Bank or Business Growth Fund.

Increasing government support should also aid many small businesses, which is key in light of rising business rates, especially in London.

A focus on management is also needed when it comes to recruitment practices – talk of a skills shortage in many key sectors makes finding the best talent paramount.

This has financial implications too, as hiring the wrong people can be exceptionaly costly, and disproportionately so for smaller firms.

Building on existing skills as a business owner is one thing, but doing it in a way that ensures the longevity of an idea or service can be much harder to achieve.

Ultimately, it’s why management is so important when scaling up, as mistakes can be difficult to overcome or correct once as they occur – often because the damage has already been done.

By Phil Smith

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