One in three SMEs report being so busy with day-to-day activity that they do not have time to focus on a plan for growth, according to research by ‘Exact’ and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR).
The poll of 757 SME owner/managers suggests around one-third (36%) do not have time to research routes for funding and general advice for growth – subsequently not knowing where to turn to achieve their business goals.
The report also suggests that operational efficiency is a key factor that separates business who see profits and growth and those that don’t.
More than two-thirds (70%) of companies that class themselves as having at least industry-average operational efficiency reported a profit last year – compared to 50% that classify their efficiency as below average.
There were only 3% of companies that recorded 100% sales growth or more in the survey sample. Of these not one classed themselves as having less than average operational efficiency.
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CEEDR principal research Dr Rob Baldock said the figures support the organisation’s message that good time management is crucial to the bottom line of companies – yet “only one-quarter of SMEs see it that way”.
“These findings come on the back of recent Government statistics showing the vast majority (68%) of the UK’s 4.9 million SMEs set out to grow their businesses last year, but only 13% succeeded in doing so,” he said.
Lucy Fox, general manager, cloud solutions at Exact, added that while the majority of SMEs are focused on growth many are “not always focusing those efforts in the most productive way”.
“While there is plenty of financial support being offered to SME businesses through growth accelerator funds and Government grants, more needs to be done to help support them in other ways, given many are just too busy to do anything about it,” she added. “Time is one of the most valuable commodities SMEs have, and it needs to be invested wisely.”
Further reading: Business scaling strategy – How to manage growth