Propaganda Expertise Plots The Route To Growth For SMEs

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Propaganda has helped compile a report for the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) Think Tank, which calls for further segmentation when categorising SMEs. The report argues that businesses with a diverse range of products, services, staffing numbers and challenges, are being grouped together under one banner for convenience, to the detriment of many.

The term ‘SME’ can cover any business from start-ups and one-man-bands, right through to regionally significant manufacturers, employing 200 people. The report suggests that The Government: “…should attempt a more thorough segmentation of the SME landscape. This would help to ensure its growth interventions, as well as potentially everything from tax to regulatory policy, are suitably adapted to the needs of its targets.”

The report recognises the importance of SMEs to UK plc, but also cautions that some, often at the smaller end of the spectrum, legitimately, aren’t seeking growth. Therefore Government policy could be better targeted to understand and support the aspirations that SMEs and business owners have.

As a part of the report, Kirsty Birks, Director at Propaganda says: “Middle-sized, owner-managed firms, are well placed to innovate. With Digital systems reducing the costs of risk-taking, they are able to move more quickly and more cheaply than before and are unconstrained by the governance structures of large PLCs. These owner managers understand the relationship between their actions, image and brand. They’re genuine entrepreneurs because they are their business”

The report goes on to suggest that The Government should help SMEs by investigating the possibility of developing bespoke regulatory timetables, which will help take the burden off small and medium sized businesses. This would seek to support businesses across the spectrum, especially those who face unnecessary barriers in the way of growth.

Speaking about the plight of Yorkshire SMEs, Kirsty said: “In our experience of working with owner managed firms, it’s clear that no two businesses are the same and there is invariably more than one route to growth. Businesses need to better understand their market position through an insight led approach, in order to define the right path for them. SMEs shouldn’t fall into the trap of trying to be different things to different people. They need to understand their offer and be clear about what makes them the best in their sector.”

Propaganda recently won the MCA Award for Strategy for our work with client, FMG. In doing so, we beat off competition from the likes of KPMG for their work with Phillip Morris International, Boxwood with Travelex and Prederi with the Department for Health. The award recognised Propaganda’s proven results, which are firmly grounded in our principle of ‘knowledge before assumption’.

As members of the MCA, we must be able to demonstrate a tangible results-driven approach to business and brand consultancy. To ensure continued excellence, members are audited every year by the MCA and follow a strict code of practice to ensure they continue to meet the highest standards.

The recommendations laid out by the report, in full, comprise of seven suggestions:

1.    The Government should attempt a more thorough segmentation of the SME landscape. This would help ensure its growth interventions, as well as potentially everything from tax to regulatory policy, are suitably adapted to the needs of its targets. Management consultants have the necessary expertise to support this effort and would be willing, through the MCA, to offer pro bono assistance.

2.    The Government should investigate the possibility of developing bespoke regulatory timetables for SMEs.

3.    BRDO, potentially with the assistance of MCA members, should look at the degree to which non-state regulatory requirements, from those associated with opening a bank account to the disciplines of the ISO process, are informed by sound risk principles and are sympathetic to and supportive of genuine business needs, especially where they impact SMEs.

4.    BIS should lead a project on the regulatory and other interfaces between government and business, under the title The Entrepreneurial State to establish how far government understands and is sympathetic to the business mindset and needs and factors them into compliance requirements for everything from regulation to procurement frameworks.

5.    As part of our forthcoming Year of Digital, the MCA offers to work with BIS on examining the suitability of the range of assumptions inherent in the current regulatory system to the Digital economy and in particular to the needs of the small insurgents who drive much of the innovation in the sector.

6.    Government should consider the consolidation of the various SME support funds into a smaller number of pots. It could provide businesses with clear summaries of the support entitlement appropriate to their sector, type and needs. GrowthAccelerator and other sources of insight and expertise could be enlisted to support consolidation.

7.    BIS and the MCA should work together to investigate ways in which the Growth Voucher scheme could be used to support collaboration between businesses with similar advisory needs. The role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in coordinating this collaboration should be considered. The MCA will examine the prospect of substantially discounted rates for advice and support purchased in this way.

The full report can be downloaded here: SMEs – Limiting Burdens Targeting Support