Overcoming SME Struggles


SMEs need small business advice to provide expertise in the specific issues faced by the trading rules and regulations in force. Probably the most prescient example of this need is in finding advice and guidance to understand the obligations placed on businesses by tax laws and regulations. Another example which can cause difficulties would be Health and Safety laws and regulations. In fully understanding how to be successful in business, a small business owner needs at least a current working knowledge of such issues and where to find information on salient changes. 


How to be successful yet compliant too

Business advice is needed to help small firms to compete effectively with large companies, which is why advisory firms such as the one run by Declan Kelly are in place. As an example, recent government changes have been made which are designed to open up government and local authority contracts to smaller businesses. Changes to tendering processes have also recently come into force in some business sectors. All of these changes do undoubtedly open up some markets to SMEs, however, they do also introduce a level of bureaucracy and checking which has made it very difficult for many small firms to enter the market. 

Contracting authorities need SMEs to submit to and achieve high levels of due diligence which include financial tests and checks on levels of business insurance, compliance with equal opportunities, health and safety, environmental management and community benefit regulations. Big companies maintain whole departments to prepare tenders or can afford to pay tendering experts. 

Small business advice needs to help small businesses compete with these big firms, it needs to ‘level the playing field’. 

Similarly, big companies retain qualified health and safety experts to ensure they fully comply with health and safety regulations and are kept informed of changes when they occur. Again SMEs need small business specialists to help them keep abreast of changes and up to date. This advice is necessary if a small company is to effectively recognise where key changes in legislation are made that the owner must take steps to address if the business is to succeed in its development and growth.


Help for small business in urban and rural environments

Small businesses can be at a disadvantage when trying to compete with their larger counterparts. A small business owner or leader will most likely be an entrepreneur and have an excellent understanding of the business sector they work in, but not have the skills, knowledge or resources to run the other multiple functions necessary to keep a business going. An owner has to deal with regulations and areas such as strategic planning, marketing strategy, development of new markets, sales, new technologies, IT, human resources, payroll and pensions. 

SMEs may not have the resources to either outsource these functions or employ specialist staff. Indeed some small business owners might see the handing over of for example planning to other people as a loss of control of their business. 

Expert advisors need to address the development of those business skills that enable business leaders and owners to successfully run and grow their businesses. It also needs to address the different problems that might be specific to urban businesses, such as high business rates or lack of suitable premises, or rural businesses who might have poor internet service provision or poor transport links. 



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