The department of Business, Innovation and Skills GrowthAccelerator service has so far engaged approximately 17,000 SME business.
Research of the needs of those businesses has revealed a fascinating insight into the barriers for growth. Transmentum has already identified that the intent and capability of the business owner is often the reason for the growth of technology businesses hitting a glass ceiling, dampening the aspirations for growth. We often guide and help business owners to let go and to delegate more. We also encourage them to have a documented plan. The findings of the research point to some key areas that business owners need to focus on in order to achieve their plans for growth.
The percentages below represent the common barriers to growth identified within the 17,000 business engaged so far by GrowthAccelerator. Please note that many companies have more than one issue preventing growth and so may fall into several of the category’s listed below.
- 51% Fail to have a clearly defined and written down strategy
- 38% Fail to employ engage and motivate their staff sufficiently well
- 37% Fail to manage sales and marketing
- 28% Fail to control their finances adequately
The benefits of having a clearly defined documented strategy are numerous. No one would dream of going on holiday without a plan of where the family are going, how they are going to get there, where they are staying, a budget and how they will behave when they get there. Why should running a business be any different? Every business should have a written down and published Vision of where it is going, Mission that states what it will do to achieve its vision and a well-defined set of Values of how the team will deliver the mission.
Staff & Management
Its not just about recruiting the right people – which can be a challenge all of its own. It is also about how engaged staff are, how they are locked in, performance managed and motivated. Many business owners start out by employing friends or being too busy to put enough effort into recruitment. There is a great deal of skill and process required to find and motivate the right people in the right way. Our guidance to any companies aspiring to grow would be to spend more time and effort on this area. It is mission critical. Here is a starting point – every single meeting or conversation you have with every member of staff should attain these three fundamental objectives:
Communicate, educate and motivate your team, everyone everyday
Sales and Marketing
We see so many technology companies fail in this area. Modern marketing is all about digital marketing and communication. It is no longer sufficient to throw as much at the wall as you can and hope that some of it sticks. In today’s modern market you need to consider two key areas.
1. Your brand is all about your values. How you are perceived throughout the customer’s journey, including who owns communication with the customer on their journey through sales, administration, delivery, support and finance. The answer should be – you do. Do you see the emails that go out from the accounts team to existing clients, do you know how the help desk communicate with people? Does your marketing communication sell to people or does it add value by informing and educating them?
2. Sales is not about emotion or who shouts at prospects the loudest. It is about a simple process that so many business forget. Qualification (understanding their need and establishing if they have one that you can fulfil), presenting your solution, reaching agreement, establishing credibility and combating buyer’s remorse post order.
Don’t forget closing a sale is a process not an event.
Many business owners base their decisions an historical financial data, many businesses rely too much on accountants who are only really focused on compliance and do not understand their clients business. Many businesses rely too much on book keepers who don’t really understand the world of risk taking that entrepreneurs live in. Many business owners don’t know how to brief financial people and are disappointed by what they get back.
Your internal financial reports should be forward looking and give you a good insight into your everyday decision making. Do you measure simple key performance indicators? For example, the average debtor days will give you an insight into the effectiveness of every team engaged in the customer’s journey.
See financial icebergs coming and be prepared for them
There are a lot of articles on this portal that will help you manage these barriers to growth or give us a call and we will come and share our insights and guidance with you 0207 478 1677.