SMEs employ a large section of UK’s workforce but about one-third of them struggle to hire employees that have the essential skills for the business to triumph. According to the report published by Albion Ventures, a capital investor, financial management, sales and IT are the areas where SMEs lack.
This is bad news as SMEs provide work for over 14.4 million people. Business owners and staffs have to do additional tasks in order to cover up the gap. Aspiring entrepreneurs just stick with industry they are interested in, including auto shop, bakery and salon since they don’t have to incorporate marketing, sales or IT in their small business.
When Gordon Leatherdale opened his business, Wild Tail, in 2010, he did the invoice, sales product development and other tasks, but he struggled to analyse the figures and identify business opportunities to expand the visibility of his brand. So he looked for help.
A graphic design agency, The Ideas Factory, helped him sort out his problems. The team listened to his financial needs and improved the area where he lacked.
Aside from asking help from the outside, SMEs can also enhance the skills within the enterprise. Seminars, networking groups and online forums can provide important advices and tips to overcome skill shortage. To help SMEs, the Funding for Lending’s offer lesser interest rates and recently, the Employment Allowance which can lower the National Insurance Bill of SMEs by £2,000.
Business owners also have to focus in improving communication skills. Although there are several communication channels such as emails, texts and social media to reach out to customers, talking to them through telephone and starting a conversation is still an effective marketing strategy.
Since SMEs are determined to grow, sales, marketing, IT and communications skills should be developed to allow the business to extend.
Based on Ventures’ report, investment, time and education are three essential things that would help SMEs have the right skills in order to be successful.