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UK SMEs Plan To Grow According To Survey

July 23, 2019 . 10:59 am

(1 min read)

A recent government survey reports nearly three quarters of Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) plan to attack their markets prioritising growth and service improvement with new business sales, staff up-skilling, process improvement and recruitment high on the agenda.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s survey  focused on SME growth plans and the obstacles they expect to face.

New Business

71% of companies said they planned to grow sales while nearly half cited market competition as their main problem. This might indicate reduced demand and overcapacity in some sectors which means competitive edge must be the priority to sell more effectively and retain business.

Sales and Marketing success relies on a robust product/service proposition, a structured engagement and delivery process and of course the right talent to make it all work.

Before rushing out to direct or find new staff consider reviewing and possibly redefining the company business plan and strategy. What relevance does your product/service range have? Why do people buy from you and how are they behaving? What do you do differently and why does that matter? Who are your competitors and what are they doing? Where do you stand in terms of price and quality? What opportunities are out there? With all of that in mind, what do you want?

In short, reassess the market proposition and strategy to ensure your staff are well placed to achieve your goals. You’ll also stand a much better chance of securing quality talent with a confident, inspirational and well thought out strategy.

Up-Skilling, Training and Business Improvement

53% said that increasing the workforce was a priority while 61% intend on up-skilling existing staff over the next three years. Great news!

Given the economic climate and the risks associated with bad hires, it’s well worth taking the time to properly map out business critical requirements before investing in staff or training. Successful recruiting requires two main elements. A thorough, clearly defined and realistic job description and an equally robust interview and evaluation process. Hiring Managers recruiting on assumption, speculation and emotions frequently make poor selection decisions so, decide to invest time in fully preparing to recruit.    

Recruiting quality staff is challenging but keeping them can be even more so. Investing in training is a great way to motivate, reward and demonstrate you value their contribution – three key elements in job satisfaction. Ensure that your training choices are in line with the company’s needs and critically, invest time into an implementation strategy. Consider the ‘use it or lose it’ philosophy. So much training knowledge is wasted because business leaders fail to facilitate opportunities to practically use and share new concepts, skills and techniques. Instead, get involved and see staff training as an opportunity for your business to improve and evolve.

Brexit Smexit

Interestingly, 71% of business leaders don’t consider Brexit to be a threat contradicting media scaremongers hell bent on convincing the country otherwise. Sure, people are concerned but what can they really do about consequences of exiting the EU? If the economy contracts and customer demand falls inevitable casualties will ensue however, you can safely predict they will be the hesitant MDs running shaky businesses with poor investment, mediocre products or services and low quality staff believing they can simply cut costs and weather the storm.

Whatever the future may have in store it would seem optimism is rife among the SME community despite the so-called economic uncertainty. In fact, the ‘glass half full’ perspective says that uncertainty doesn’t have to spell bad times. In fact, the very nature of uncertainty means things could well be fine! Either way, it’s business as usual for us all.  

Good Hunting.


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