Many business owners aspire to growth, but only a small percentage actually achieve growth. Research shows that the main barriers to growth for SME businesses are
1. Lack of realistic business plans
2. Muddled marketing
3. Wrong objectives, based on sales
4. Running business in the same way when the market has changed
5. Meddling and misspent time
6. No financial strategy and poor controls
Some of the other suggestions put forward by the members of the Business Exposure Group included:
– Putting up with inefficient systems, processes and procedures
– Lack of demand
– Lack of management time
– Access to finance
– Lack of skilled staff
– Employment legislation
– Size of premises
But less obvious is the ability of the business to grow must be influenced by the willingness of the owners to devolve decisions to non-owning managers.
The discussion confirmed that companies don’t fail because they grow, but they fail because they don’t plan their growth. So, to achieve sustained growth – invest in ‘safe bets’ and identify strategies with a probability of success. Start with your core business and eliminate non-core products or services on a regular basis.
Some of the members thought that a business has a better chance of success if you come from a big business background or at least employ someone that does. Yet, big companies are not great innovators and become bogged down with reporting and bureaucracy.
The overriding feeling amongst the group was that growth for any good company is not markets, technology or products, but our ability to attract and keep the right staff.
Every business has skills gaps and it is vital that those gaps are plugged if you want to move up a level.
Yet many owners felt that the main barrier to growth was lack of confidence and fear of losing what has already been achieved