The London Tech Week kicked off this week – bringing together creativity, talent and innovation from all over the UK. And with over 55,000 business professionals attending, one things is clear – we’re all on the search for the new, trending, innovative. And while opportunities like this one to connect and inspire are plentiful, there is a silent killer threatening the longevity of many currently-successful SMEs. That is, unless they plan effectively with a long-term sustainable picture in mind.
Figures published recently by the Centre for Business and Economics Research (CEBR) highlight the fact that the tide appears to have turned, at least for now, for SME growth amidst a very troublesome economy, with business confidence and the general health of UK SMEs increasing in most regions in the UK, ending a 5-quarter decline. Employment is up, revenue is up, and more critically, lending is up. Great news for SMEs who are focussed on growth, and planning exciting things for the future.
But as with anything that looks too good to touch, there is, unfortunately, a dreaded sting in the tail that lurks, and if you haven’t planned sufficiently and taken full advantage of the positive economical benefits you’re experiencing now, you could very quickly find yourself, and your business, at loose ends.
Successful planning today, sets you up for tomorrow.
Planning for a prosperous future means that you never stop looking for opportunity. “The best run companies always behave like they are losing money” (Lee Colan, The L Group). Your teams should understand the most basic unit of profitability, especially within operations departments and other functions which aren’t typically customer-facing. Instilling critical understandings of productivity amongst your teams means that you are set up to take full advantage of the good times, and battle your way through the tough ones, for long enough to see your business growth continue – albeit at a slightly slower pace. Enable your teams to feel like owners of their own functions – driving revenue and profitability within their teams.
Challenge Management Techniques
As the founder of your business, we know you’ve worked hard to build your business up. And when the team grows, and management structures change, it’s often difficult to separate yourself from the day-to-day things that distract you away from your long-term vision. A strategic leader is someone who is able to differentiate between working ON their business, and working IN their business. When times get tough, ones natural instinct is to roll up the sleeves, and get stuck in. And in many circumstances, that’s the correct thing to do. But if you intend of seeing things through towards growth and profitability again, you’ll need to practice being able to relinquish the gloves and entrust the critical business responsibilities to the team that you have appointed. Knowing when to get more (and less) involved is a sure-way to develop a fuller understanding for the needs of your business in the long-run.
Understanding your Options
Surprisingly, we still see business leaders not fully understand funding opportunities (and access routes) available to their businesses today. Many fall prey to the more exciting, but heavily limited number of business finance options which traditionally grab the news headlines and occupy massive convention centres. Many apply, and are disappointed when their request is denied – and fail to understand that the inevitable let down has very little to do with the funding source, but much more to do with their own (lack of) preparation and understanding of the opportunities available to them. Businesses who demonstrate high-growth opportunities and a desire to move towards the next level of growth are sought-after. Private and public investors are desperate to latch onto the innovation and energy exhibited by founders who have proven their business concept, developed a strong customer base and demonstrate longevity already. Corporate organisations who themselves battle with a lack of innovation, a rigid ability to change and adapt, are hungry for the more agile, flexible businesses who have so much to offer them. Knowing where to look, and understanding the route to get there, is probably the most critical part of funding any business.
This is why we started CFPro Ventures – to help high-growth SMEs achieve long-term productivity and success – in whatever way, shape or form. We work with business leaders to identify the best route for them personally, and for their organisations and we work alongside them to ensure they get there.
If you’re ready to understand more – get in touch with us today.