Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in boosting economies worldwide. In the UK alone they have a combined turnover of £2 trillion! But to scale up and achieve their potential, they sometimes need support.
One of the key drivers of growth is improvements in productivity. SMEs are always trying to produce more with the same inputs. But they don’t always find it easy…
ACCA’s report ‘Scale-up success: What do SMEs need to supercharge their growth?’ examines what SMEs can do to overcome barriers and enhance their productivity. It suggests that, ultimately, they need to adopt the practices of high-growth firms.
So, what can SMEs learn from these kinds of companies? Well, here are ACCA’s top recommendations for scaling up success:
Define a growth culture - This must come from leadership. When staff share and are committed to an organisation’s purpose and vision, they are more likely to see its future as their own.
Establish a governance framework to help build resilience - Growth prospects can be supported if SMEs build a governance structure from the outset of their business journey.
Continue developing management team alongside business growth - Those founders who seek to retain control over all aspects of their business may run into trouble as complexity increases.
Integrate finance into growth strategy - It is vital that the finance function of SMEs seeks to understand the organisation’s wider goals and to add value to these activities.
Adopt new technologies and use the right data - Technology adoption is essential for businesses that scale-up, which often require additional resource to address ever-greater complexity in the operation of business processes.
Use external advice to develop what you have - SMEs can help improve their resilience by developing relationships with relevant sources of external advice.
Build an external funding network - Through building the right network, businesses looking to scale-up may find external funding more accessible and attract investment
SMEs can achieve growth at any time. It’s not always easy, but regularly revisiting and acting on the steps above should help SMEs to navigate ever-changing and increasingly competitive markets, and continue to make a valuable contribution to the wider economy.
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