The main challenges facing SME owners
There are several challenges that SME leaders face such as cash flow, access to finance, staff, competition, external events such as EU membership and international trade. The common thread that binds them all is planning. The government reports that 56% of SME’s do not have a business plan and those that do are not regularly reviewed.
It is like driving a bus without a destination and no Satnav to show where you are going. Any obstacle will likely have a major impact on your journey and decisions will be made without a goal in mind, you will ultimately run out of fuel.
Getting the strategy right
For most SME’s a business plan is a document that was created when they first set up their business or applied for finance and are not designed to be working documents. What is needed is a strategic plan that is a living, working document pulling together the businesses internal capabilities and matching them with the external opportunities that are available to the business at any point in time in a dynamic and evolving business environment.
The Strategic Plan needs to be focused, considering the aspirations of the owner and articulating the core purpose, values and vision of the business as a rallying point for everyone involved in the business. The Strategic Plan acts as a Satnav for the owner and should contain critical success factors to enable the business to successfully address all the challenges that it faces.
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