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Operational inefficiency, multitasking and lack of improvement holding SMEs back

The key to running a successful small business is having the necessary knowledge to be efficient, to ensure customer satisfaction, have good employee engagement and to enable access to new markets.

Despite this, new research by BSI (British Standards Institution) has revealed that almost half of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) don’t feel that their business is operating efficiently.

The survey which targeted 250 SMEs throughout the UK with between 1-250 employees, also highlighted that the highest number of businesses that showed concern about operating efficiently were based in East Anglia, Scotland and Yorkshire and the Humber. Around 60% of businesses in these regions highlighted this as a challenge for their company.

Furthermore, a quarter of respondents also claimed that there was room for improvement within their business and approximately 20% of businesses stated that they were involved in every aspect of their business.

This research is supported by recent findings by RSA which demonstrated that 55% of small and medium-sized enterprises don’t survive more than five years. Beyond survival, businesses also face considerable challenges in achieving growth with two thirds (63%) of small business owners admitting that it is difficult to grow their firm and three fifths (61%) of owners lacking confidence in their ability to achieve three-year continued growth.*

In 2014, there were an estimated 5.2 million businesses in the UK – 99.9% of those being SMEs, therefore this research is a concern if organizations are to continue to grow and thrive in today’s market.

Standards or management systems can help businesses to focus on the products and services that they deliver, their business processes and the way that they manage their organization as a whole.

What Can Small Busineses Do To Improve?

It’s not just a simple case of buying a standard – businesses should firstly understand what is required for their organisation in order to improve.

  1. What are the biggest risks, what processes need to be implemented, and what leadership is required?
  2. You should ensure that employees have the necessary tools and skills to understand their part in the process – workshops, seminars and training are a key element of this. There are systems available that can help to effectively manage core areas of any business.
  3. Once a standard is in place, businesses should market their achievement to potential and existing customers – this provides customers with reassurance that your company is working as efficiently and effectively as possible.