It's not easy running an SME and business owners face many challenges. Small to Medium businesses (typically employing under 250 people) are the backbone of the UK economy, making up 99.9% of all private sector businesses. At the beginning of 2016 there were 5.5 million SMEs in the UK employing 15.7 million people with a combined turnover of £1.8 trillion 1.
How these challenges are addressed can make the difference between success and failure. In fact, 4 in 10 SMEs don’t survive past the 5 year mark 2. There are many reasons for this and in this 'Top Ten Business Challenges' series we are going to unpack some of the most common challenges that we help our clients overcome...
1. Leadership Development
Many business owners start their businesses with an entrepreneurial spark and fire in their bellies, wearing as many hats as necessary to get the job done.
Over time however, as the businesses grow, the allure of independence and freedom that being the boss had promised can seem quite remote, with many feeling like they are working 24 hours a day.
We speak to many business owners who feel frustrated that their businesses are not achieving their potential, often they are actually working IN their businesses and not ON their businesses.
This is where procrastination (the delaying of important decisions due to workload) can start to affect growth, if not health of any business, when its leader is too busy with the day to day to plan for tomorrow.
To change this mindset, it is crucial for leadership and management skills to be developed to progress any business. Business owners are fast becoming more aware of this fact, it is a necessity in today's competitive environment.
In fact, the CIPD 2015 Learning and Development Survey highlights that 80 per cent of organisations plan to conduct leadership development activities in the next 12 months, with a key focus on changing the organisational culture and improving the skills of existing leaders to think in a more strategic and future-focused way.
The ability to identify and articulate their vision and purpose for the business, along with a clear understanding of where the business is now, why and where it needs to be, allows for the creation of a strategy and plan. After all, without a direction where will your ship sail?
This brings clarity and security for management and staff to understand their required contribution to the overall success. This also frees time for business owners to lead from a higher, more strategic viewpoint as well as make a positive adjustment to their own work / life balance.
We think that one of the finest examples of a finely tuned leadership mindset, clarity of purpose and 'action framework' can be seen with the Virgin Group. This is their defined corporate purpose:
We aren't all at the scale of Virgin, but we can all learn from how they have found their pathway to success and reached for the skies!
For help in fine tuning your Leadership approach get in touch with us. We offer a blend of coaching, group training workshops and consultancy to help leaders further develop their skills and their businesses. Our approach is simple Mindset + Strategy + Action = Successful outcomes.
Warren Arthur has 25 year+ experience in leveraging digital marketing strategies and implementation to help local businesses survive & thrive online. He works with businesses of all different shapes and sizes across the UK, US & Europe - and is passionate about empowering his clients to find their success in this digital age we all live and work in.
Find out how our talented team can help your business thrive online - contact us
Next blog in this series is: Business Challenges Series: 2.Getting the Right Advice
1 Figures obtained from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills 2016