What Will Make Your Business Future-fit?
Although Olympic athletes must put in hours and hours of training to perform to the highest, medal-winning standards, a fundamental level of fitness is a given. The same applies to SMEs. You need to make sure your company is fit for growth from the outset.
99.9% of businesses are SMEs, so the competition is fierce. Putting yourself in the optimum position for growth is therefore critical.
What are the key aspects to making your business future-fit?
Attracting Talent and Positioning Employees for Success
According to CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), employees are the asset that creates all the others.
It's human decision-making that ultimately creates value in your business. Therefore, to make your business fit for the future you must invest in the people that will work in it.
A big part of this is finding ways to attract talent, and this goes beyond attractive salaries. The market for talent is candidate-driven and candidates are looking for employers who demonstrate clear values.
But not only must you attract talent, but you also need to retain it. If you can empower your employees and give them a real sense that they are making a difference, this will build trust and loyalty.
You should also consider the resources you’ll need to invest in to support this people-first strategy. For example, digital technology (see below). Giving people the right tools for the job is a basic requirement for making them feel valued.
Don’t Command, Collaborate
Vertical, command-and-control leadership is less efficient than horizontal leadership. Successful, dynamic SMEs encourage collaboration and adaptability.
This connects with the whole notion of the value of talent development and cross-training.
As a smaller business, you’ve got a built-in advantage when it comes to adopting these kinds of working practices. You can create close-knit but agile teams that inspire and motivate employees while delivering value to your clients.
Again, this is something you should be prepared to invest in to achieve your results.
Embrace Digital Transformation
Technology offers routes to accelerated growth and development. Digital transformation can have a profound impact on your business, not just in delivering efficiencies but in preparing it for new challenges and opportunities.
Don’t think of this as technology for technology’s sake. Rather, it’s about having a progressive approach to business.
What form can digital transformation take? The first thing to note is that it’s as much about a mindset as it is about using technology.
Embrace change, and the tools for change, and you help to future-proof your enterprise.
Digital transformation can increase productivity, streamline processes, enhance the customer experience and improve your workplace culture.
Establish Your Brand identity and Your Position
A common but misplaced view of SMEs is that they are small players in the larger narrative of big business and corporations.
But SMEs can form part of a bigger company's value chain or play a significant part in the wider industry.
This is about positioning yourself and using this to establish and validate your brand identity.
Part of this process involves understanding your brand purpose and expressing this through your brand.
Brand is fundamental to business fitness. It’s not just an attractive logo or a bold strapline. It’s the thing that will differentiate you in the marketplace.
Invest in your brand development and you’re investing in the future of your business.
How to Finance Your Fitness
Funding can present various obstacles for SMEs, and conventional lenders are not always willing to offer practical, financial support.
But there are now plenty of reliable and credible alternatives that offer different routes to funding.