The business today is on the move with dynamism taking center stage.What effectively worked out yesterday may not work out today and also applicable in the future. It’s an industry that can’t forsake elements of creativity&innovation, professionalism as well as many other success ingredients for sustainability.
Traditional SMEs suffered largely due to intimidating business environmental factors both internal and external. Just to point out competition,fair play with bigwigs in the industry was a major headache due to limiting factors and weaker muscles to match competitive space threatening survival rate.With the changing time, several transformation has been evident that continues to uplift most of SMEs for the good but SME owners must ensure their internal and external capabilities are in better position to live up the transformation journey for productivity.We have to stop and reconsider how we run the SMEs, most have been casually handled and the results have always been on point with the increased business stagnation as well as collapsing cases.
According to Enterprise Research Centre latest findings, insufficient professional management skills takes large responsibility of averagely 56% of SMEs failures and one in three business having 5-24 staffs have considered and ensured professional management skills training in the previous 12 months. Giving a closer attention at the findings and exploring current rapidly changing business environment forms the basis of this article to explore necessity of professionalism in our SMEs.
Consider these insights ;
Business and owner must remain a different entity. Separating the two has been a major headache for several SMEs, this is mostly evident in financial management where a number of SMEs still suffers from poor bookkeeping management by having business transactions and personal transactions jointly. This continously denies SMEs the chance to closely evaluate business financial performance for appropriate planning and adjustment.
SMEs must now learn to incorporate high level of competencies especially in areas where it’s incapacitated. Most of SMEs is crowded with family members as part of the management team even without appropriate knowledge and skills to tackle the responsibilities.Owners must now accept the change of time and put appropriate measures to acquire qualified employees not necessarily family members that will bring on table key competencies ensuring business productivity. Even as the owner, transfering management responsibility to a team with key skills and qualifications to oversee the business operations on your behalf is a prudent move to boost profitability. You don’t have to cling on running the business single-handedly even when you lack necessary competence. Proper structuring through assistance of experts and mentors is necessary here to come up with positions, qualifications and responsibilities of required employees as per business rising demands to boost business productivity.
SMEs owners must take good care of motivational factors within a business. General welfare of employees must be a priority, working conditions should be very appealing to the staff for their productivity. Renumeration remains to be a contentious issue and must be handled with a lot of professionalism. Proper communication must be made to staff on structure and policies of payment which must be understood and respected by both parties. Pay should be directly proportional to productivity. It is very much out of order to fail paying employees for several months and making them beggars after diligently performing their duties, even during worse business time, communication and consultations plus negotiations should be considered to handle the issue with sobriety.
Continous training and development has been underrated by most SMEs but it is standing out now and shouldn’t be avoided. This should always be planned by coming up with structured skills development plan outlining current and future skills /talents requirements in comparison with your business strategy so as to improve business performance and employee retention. It is true that business environment is rapidly changing and employees should continously be equipped with necessary skills and knowledge to tackle current and future role demands.
Investing in physical structures and positive business environment such as office fixtures & fittings, office layouts, healthy business environment for operations clearly portrays professionalism. Some SMEs have outdated and unmaintained structures making them so untidy forcing them to hire out places which is far much costly to please visitors. Proper restructuring to incorporate condusive and attractive layout gives that positive physical outlook as well as aspect of professionalism.
Business planning is a key documentation that escalates business professionalism. Through a clearly and adequately developed business plan, SMEs get the roadmap in regards to organizational planning, management planning, financial planning, marketing, operational planning in line with business vision. Planning is a key professionalism attribute that will help SMEs achieve its set goals with ease and productivity.
Business ethics is very essential for sustainability of any business. As a professional, an SME sets policies, values, code of conduct and procedures that must be clearly understood by all and religiously adhered to so as to promote business culture in line with the vision. These policies also saves you as an SME owner from any illegality as well as unfair labour engagements.
Customer is the king, hence a lot of professionalism must be cultivated during customer service delivery. Internal customers mainly employees must always be motivated to provide positive services. Since they represent your business to external customers, consider working on those motivational factors such as renumeration,training and development, condusive working environment, appraisals to the business advantage.Positive interactions and engagement with external customers is paramount,always have a listening ear to customer needs and promptly provide market demands, timely response to customer’s queries and needs, always be on lower tone even when communication is fired up to atleast calm down a client for sober engagement.Being submissive to mistakes and minimising shifting blames and working diligently to prevent reoccurrence of mistakes shows the might of professionalism in business.