Clearly Covid-19 has presented the biggest challenge to the UK economy in the post-war era. While the immediate effects have been profound, the future impact on small and medium sized businesses is likely to be long-lasting and highly uncertain.
Having worked with small business owners for many years I remain hugely optimistic that, due to their resilience, entrepreneurialism and adaptability, there is much reason for optimism.
However, for this optimism to be realised, business owners need access to information and insight that can support them as they navigate this challenging and often confusing landscape.
No two small and medium-sized companies are the same. However, in my experience, there are often common themes and challenges that – to one extent or another – can impact on their success.
As a business whose mission is to empower small and medium-sized businesses to succeed, we wanted to look into this and see what the most successful businesses were doing differently and what could we learn that might be of relevance to others.
In order to do so, we recently commissioned an independent study – titled the SME Guide to Success – conducted by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (CEBR), to look into what key factors drive the success of the top performing small and medium-sized businesses. Having surveyed over 1,000 senior decision-makers at UK SMEs, the research identified six key factors that directly contributed to the success of the highest performing SMEs from within the survey.
Those key factors were:
- Provide regular training for your staff
- Make time to focus on innovation and technology
- Have a formal, long-term vision
- Broaden your customer reach and find new markets
- Develop a reinvestment plan to strengthen your business
- Don’t be an introvert – look wider to the power of your network
Of course, every business is different and has their own opportunities and challenges. However, the factors we have identified will be relevant to every business in one way or another, and the phenomenal response we have seen from many throughout the coronavirus pandemic reflects them well. At Allica we wanted to make these findings available to support small businesses as they adapt to the new reality we have found ourselves in. We have also brought in external partners to provide expert and practical input to help business owners consider how they can be applied.
We are also partnered with a number of external experts to run a series of free webinars in the coming weeks to delve into the detail of each key factor. We hope that businesses will find some benefit from them as they plan and consider their own route through the period that lies ahead. While we cannot underestimate the scale of the challenges that will be faced by small businesses, I remain hugely optimistic and expectant that our adaptable and energetic small business community will come together to find ways to drive their success again.