What every SME needs #HeshdeSilva

April 29, 2014
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, Heshan S

Before I get started I have a feeling I know what many of you are thinking regarding this topic. Capital, Capital and more Capital.

Yes, every business can do with more cash on hand, every single one. There is nothing unique or singular in that need. The steps I propose in this piece should enable you to get on the right track to generate greater revenues as well as remain sustainable as you grow.

I’ve come across more SMEs than I can possibly count, in almost every sector of the economy. As diverse as our landscape, people and ideologies may be – great businesses always have the same characteristics; A general unifier in the hysteria of profit seeking.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but it’s a good sign on whether you are on the right path or not. Let’s get started.

“IF THE HEAD IS ROTTEN…”. We’ve heard the saying before – and it rings very true in business. No matter the size of the SME, the buck stops with the CEO. Bosses need to have vision. The bigger picture must be firmly entrenched in their minds, and must be constantly innovated and remixed to stay relevant. If you are a boss who’s permanently doing menial tasks in the office, you are going to lose focus on where you need to go. A team of employees needs a great leader; if that leader lacks the skills necessary for successful leadership – they simply aren’t cut out for what the job demands. Great leaders are humble enough to learn from, and accept criticism and opinions – while at the same time, arrogant enough to make sure the vision for the business is attained. A bullheadedness to make sure tasks and targets are met and exceeded, while acknowledging challenges faced.

FIND TALENT. Yes yes, I’ve heard a lot of excuses in this category from all types of people. ‘Talent is so hard to find’, ‘people lack motivation’, ‘they aren’t as smart as they used to be’ and on and on. Frankly, it’s exhausting. If you aren’t going to adequately compensate your workforce, you aren’t going to get the results you want. “But how do you find suitable employees today?” The same way every great company does – by adequately vetting them. Too many SMEs rely on an interview, CV and resumé to determine employee viability. Let’s face it, it’s not really working that well. Try testing people. Put them through a written exam that will provide an overview on how they would do in your workplace. Ask questions that require analytical thinking and that test problem-solving abilities. Yes it takes more effort, but you’ll know their abilities a lot better than pretending to be a master mind reader during an interview.

A GREAT TEAM. If your employees feel like second class citizens because of the way you exert your perceived authority over them – don’t expect positive results. Incentives run the world we live in – and your employees are no different. Give them ownership in what they are doing – very rarely do owners want to be part of something that is falling apart. Use that to your advantage.

DELEGATE duties and tasks to able people. If you’re the boss and you find yourself swamped in menial tasks – you won’t be able to execute your vision, your team doesn’t have a proper leader, and you’ll stagnate.

Never forget, SALES IS KEY. Every business is selling something. Products, services, or anything else. Do not get muddled in the mundane and forget that revenues are the key to long term viability. Ensure that your sales people are great at what they do, able to meet targets that you set together with them, and are well compensated according to their efforts.

Do not forget, the unpopular choice in the workplace sometimes needs to be made. If your team respects your vision and execution – they’ll respect your choice. If they do not, you aren’t the leader you need to be.

 

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