Wales is the home of small businesses and business start-ups, with 99 percent of Welsh firms being SMEs. And across the UK, this year alone, almost 600,000 entrepreneurs put their dreams into action by setting up shop.
The Centre for Entrepreneurs’ Start Up Britain campaign heads for Wales this month (November), with a host of events going ahead throughout our towns and cities, aimed to help people grow their small business.
Here at Morgan Hemp, we specialise in providing expert business planning advice and tools to SME’s – in fact 100 percent of our clients are successful SMEs.
So here are our five New Year’s Resolutions we suggest every SME should have in mind for 2017.
Take some time to create a detailed succession plan. If you are in the honeymoon period this may feel premature, but having a poor succession plan can severely damage the value of your business when you come to hand over the reins. Just the act of making that plan can help you to scrutinize your business and any of its quirks or weak spots, so it can be an invaluable way of giving your business a health MOT.
Consider outsourcing some of your professional services. If you are a small concern you may not feel able to take on a marketing director or an HR professional – let alone a marketing or an HR team. Outsourcing these functions to a marketing agency or to the legal HR experts in a professional solicitors’ practice can be a cost-effective way of getting access to key professional services and the most up-to-date skills and advice.
Stop using your accountant simply to make sure your books are in order – you are missing out on valuable advice and services that could supercharge your SME. For instance, we are able to create bespoke financial forecasting tools to fit an individual SME into which they can plug their own data and figures every month. This helps them to see any areas of potential growth or any pinch points ahead. Too many SMEs use forecasting tools once every few years, perhaps when approaching a lender for financing.
Get an expert to audit your social media strategy and activity. Social media is a part of all of our lives now and it is an invaluable tool for the SME. However, many small businesses use social media in an ad hoc way which undermines their brand. Bear on mind that for many of your customers, your Facebook page is your shop window. Invest in some professional advice or training to help you ‘show your best side’ at all times.
Get out more. By their nature, people who run SMEs are driven and focused, since they are likely to have nurtured their business from seed. There is nothing wrong with putting in the hours, but being chained to you desk is counter-productive. Resolve to take one afternoon a week away from your desk. You can, by all means, use this time to attend networking events and business workshops, or to volunteer to become a board member for a local charity – all great sources of sound contacts.