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The ultimate SME health check

It’s easy to get carried away by the momentum of running a business, but busy bosses neglect the underlying health of their organisation at their peril.

Check your visionThermometer

A survey by UNC’S Kena-Flagler Business School and the YEC found that millennials prioritise ‘meaningful work’ over high salaries. What you do and how you do it has never been more important. A clear, meaningful vision will also keep your employees working hard toward the same goals.

Balance your diet

Many SMEs understandably focus on attracting young talent. However, young employees frequently see jobs as a stepping stone or stop gap. CMI chief executive Ann Francke has clear advice for SMEs suffering from this unbalanced diet: “Hire older people, they have the experience and they are less likely to leave.” To attract them, FSB policy adviser Chris Walker suggests that SMEs “sell the fact that you can give employees freedom”, and give staff plenty of responsibility.

Get a brain scan

Your competition and the marketplace are constantly evolving: you need to be learning all the time to stay abreast of every development. Rebecca McNeil, managing director of lending and enterprise at Barclays Bank, told This Is Money: “knowing who your competitors are, who your audience is and the ways in which you can strive to perform better within your sector will all contribute to continued success.”

Test your reflexes

You can’t foresee every event, but you can ensure your business has built-in responses to deal with a disaster. Last year AXA found that 53% of SMEs who needed Employers’ Liability Insurance didn’t have it, and 43% working with the public weren’t covered against accidental damage. Make sure you’re protected against the right risks.

Monitor your blood pressure

Cash is the lifeblood of your business. If it’s not flowing properly, your business will suffer. Make sure that your accounting processes are clear, quick and effective. Don’t give clients an excuse for late payment practises.

Explore every funding opportunities available to you in case of a cash flow problem. The UK alternative finance sector grew by 91% from 2012-2013, yet still makes up just 1% of SME lending. It’s worth researching if you could benefit from looking for support away from banks.

If you need help with cash flow or debt recovery, contact a Dukes Bailiffs advisor today.

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