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Thursday, 3 December 2009

Top 10 Tips: For SME success through the recession

by Tony Wilson , MD Proofsouth Ltd,

These selected ten tips of practical advice that works will help Managing Director/Owners in all SME businesses to bring their companies through recession in the best possible shape.

1. Treat Cash as King
This is your first priority. Daily & weekly control are worthwhile over the next year of recession. Lack of cash is why business fails more than any other reason.

2. Monitor your business against a plan
A rough & ready plan is better than none for starters.
Monthly accounts are a good framework for reviewing actual v plan. Be clear what your key performance indicators (KPIs) are. Use 'variances' from plan to drive your corrective action.

3. Allocate your time so you are working ON your business as well as IN your business.
Beware the pressures of recession which tend to squeeze you further into the detail of business.

4. Choose experienced external advisers you can trust and build an ongoing relationship.
Use them as a virtual board or consultancy to help you work ON the business. The MDO role in an SME is lonely in comparison with the MD in a larger company with a Board of directors and management team. This investment is always worthwhile.

5. Prioritise team work – delegate to employees to work IN the business which will motivate them. This is more effective even if you could do everything better yourself. Spend your time with those things they cannot do and also control your delegation.

6. Set & monitor realistic objectives with your team
Feed these back through team meetings. Measure results and use KPIs where you can.

7. Use grant and soft loan assistance.
Your external advisors will help you access it & immediately reduce their cost to you– there is lots to help SMEs in training, business development & investment. This cost reduction should help justify your moving ahead.

8. Hold regular team meetings
These should be brief, results oriented and with clear purpose.
Use these as a tool of development, delegation and maintaining focus on business objectives.

9. Use advisors and employees together in teams.
Review but don’t be involved in everything. Control but don’t dominate. Bring the IN the business and ON the business together where helpful.

10. Review budgets and priorities using your team(s) but avoid an ill considered rush to cut.
Use advisors / team to help you get maximum value for every £ spent. Set & use targets to help match expenditure & results.

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