The biggest challenges facing SMEs

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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 of small business owners admitting that it is difficult to grow their firm and three fifths of owners lacking confidence in their ability to achieve three-year continued growth.*

Mark  Gouldstone, Client Propositions Manager, SMEs, BSI commented: “In 2014, there were an estimated 5.2 million businesses in the UK – 99.9 per cent of those being SMEs, therefore this research is a concern if organisations are to continue to grow and thrive in today’s market.

“It’s vital that businesses have the necessary knowledge to be more efficient in their business to ensure customer satisfaction, improve employee engagement and to enable access to new markets. 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 organisation as a whole.

“However, 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. What are the biggest risks, what processes need to be implemented, and what leadership is required? Secondly, they 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. Finally, 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.”