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This week a new industry report has revealed that a substantial number of small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK aren’t flourishing at the rate they should be. The Growing Your Small Business document suggests that this widespread lethargy would subside if there was more done to close the leadership and management skills gaps that are currently hindering the country’s SMEs and putting them at severe risk of failure.

The Growing Your Small Business report

The report was launched at the House of Commons this month as part of a wider campaign to help small and medium-sized businesses gain greater access to professional management support. There is plenty available to them via the plethora of business schools up and down the country but clearly more needs to be done to take the horse to water, so to speak.

The findings were generated from a nationwide roadshow in which 1,200 managers imparted their pearls of wisdom with regards to business growth and discussed the part business schools have to play in developing management and leadership skills. We need to educate existing managers and cultivate a new generation of leadership experts and this roadshow was part of the wider effort to do so.

The report found that a worrying 44% of UK SMEs founded in 2011 had collapsed by 2014 and cited poor management and incompetence as being to blame for 56% of these failures. It also demonstrated that a mere 16% of new businesses are growing at a fast pace but say this would increase with improvements in professional management practice, as well as boosting productivity and employment.

Anna Kiem, chief executive at the Chartered Association of Business Schools, said: “The UK’s business schools are full of world-class business expertise and knowledge, and with a business school conveniently located in every region they are perfectly placed to support the growth of small businesses.

“As this report has evidenced, those small businesses that have received support from a business school have received high quality advice and professional development to start, grow or reshape their business.”

Improving your management strategies

The Growing Your Small Business report revealed that only 42% of small businesses had provided management training in the 12 months previously, which is a stark contrast to the nearly 90% of large businesses during the same time period. The situation was worst amongst businesses with 24 members of staff or less, with just one in three receiving any form of management training.

However if UK SMEs are going to survive, there needs to be more of a focus on management so we’re here to give you some useful pointers. You need to be running a tight ship from all angles but there are three main areas that require exceptional management in order for your business to run efficiently and grow at a sufficient pace. These three main points of focus are as follows:

Financial management – Poor accountancy practice is one of the main stumbling blocks that cause small businesses to fail, along with bad financial decisions and weak budgeting. Fine tuning your financial management skills is absolutely crucial to the success of your budgeting so it’s time to get your books in order. Our low-cost online service means you can work with a qualified expert and have access to our own cloud-based bookkeeping software (Pandle) to ensure your business is running tax-efficiently, to strict budgets and generating sound income.

Team management – Your workforce are the cogs that keep the wheels turning so it’s vital that you keep these well-oiled and running smoothly in order for your business to grow and prosper. You can ensure this is the case by making sure communication is strong by implementing regular team meetings and one-to-one catch ups when necessary. You should also be setting clear and realistic targets to motivate your team and investing in adequate training opportunities too.

Time management – In today’s fast-paced marketplace, time is definitely of the essence so it’s more important than ever to get your priorities in order and capitalise on your valuable time. Taking advantage of modern technology is one way to buy yourself some more time as there are a whole array of useful apps that can help you stay organised on track but self-discipline is particularly crucial. Set realistic deadlines for yourself and your workforce and be stringent about sticking to them and learn how to say no when you are at full capacity and feel as though you have hit your limit.

About The Author

Karl Bilby

We work very closely with our expert accountants to bring you the latest factually correct tax and accounting news. We also enjoy writing about small business news that we hope you find useful!

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