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Take your Business to the next level

Take your business to the next level

Advice for SMEs

Small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of our economy. From a sole trader to a small business employing a small number of staff, these are the businesses that rise and fall on their own merit and can have the biggest impact on the economy.

Training is a crucial factor for small businesses. Stimulating proactive, rather than reactive, thinking from people can encourage a small group to work with fluency and creativity; something which can be difficult to find in larger organisations.

“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your clients.” Richard Branson

The loss of even one employee has a very significant impact on a small business, which, unlike larger companies, are generally not well equipped to handle a high turnover of staff. With this in mind, training is fundamental.

With proper training employees are helped to grow professionally, and they often become happier and more productive as a result of this, leading to fewer employees wanting to leave the company.

The Sunday Times’ Best Companies to work for suggests that small companies which embrace learning and professional development as part of their corporate culture/mission are more successful and have the best track record for hiring and retaining happy employees. In these examples, there is evidence that every single person in the business has a role to play in developing such an environment, not just HR.

With the right training in place, SMEs can grow from often humble beginnings to thriving businesses quickly.

In this blog you will learn:

  • Why having the right people with the right skills is so crucial for SMEs
  • Why many SMEs are choosing distance learning Business and Management courses as their go-to solution for their training needs
  • Why Brighton School of Business and Management is so good at getting the results that SMEs require

Managing an SME – Why having the right people with the right skills is crucial to Business success

A recent report from the Federation of Small Businesses indicates that while 91% of small businesses recognise the value of staff training and development, both in terms of increasing the value of an employee’s contribution to the business and in terms of employee retention, just 43% of British SMEs are currently investing in training and development.

Small business owners often face two big questions around training decisions for employees:

What if you train them and they leave?

What if you don’t train them – and they stay?

The cost of providing training was cited as the primary reason small businesses don’t offer their staff training, with 43% identifying this as an issue. 34% of the businesses surveyed by the FSB indicated that they don’t provide training because they don’t have access to relevant training options in their area.

So, for many small and medium-sized businesses, the idea of footing the bill for staff training can be very off-putting. However, rather than being a pointless cost to the business, the right staff training can actually be a very worthwhile investment.  Resoundingly, research from Goldman Sachs showed that small business owners who invested in training were more likely to develop people to become more productive and want to grow the business.  In other words, what is good for employees is good for the business.

Here are some reasons why:

1.    Improve staff motivation

A recent ILM study showed that in 2015 27% of British employees were looking to leave their current firm because of a lack of opportunity for training and development.  A report by Oxford Economics has estimated that the average cost of replacing a valuable employee is over £30,000.

This is definitely something that SMEs should seek to avoid.

So, training your employees means you are likely to have a more skilled and motivated member of staff who can enhance your business capabilities and performance, and you are also more likely to avoid the costs of recruiting their replacement.

2.    Essential up-skilling

According to a recent CBI survey of some 17,500 UK businesses, 59% of employers stated that skills shortages are having a negative impact on productivity. 70% said that they had experienced moderate to extreme skills shortages over the past year. 76% don’t have the talent needed to achieve business objectives over the coming year.

Up-skilling is when someone acquires an additional set of skills that drives them on as employees but also drives the business on too. Investing in employees is investing in your business. Some skills may be common sense, but this leaves it too open and too variable from one person to another.

3.    Making your business attractive to Millennials

As Millennials form a bigger part of our workforce, it is imperative that businesses consider how to retain ‘early career’ talent by embracing a learning culture.

According to a recent online research survey conducted by found that ‘73% percent of respondents said they thought working for an SME is much riskier than working for a large company, with better career prospects at the latter. An overwhelming percentage of participants believed they would learn more at an SME, and yet, 86% believe working at a large company is more prestigious.

It is no wonder that recruiting and retaining talented millennials is a major challenge facing SMEs. Large businesses with a strong brand name are at an advantage in attracting high calibre talent since this generation is attracted to sustainable companies they admire as consumers. It’s true, in many cases, these corporations have bigger budgets to spend on structured learning and development programmes.

4.    Enjoy competitive advantages

Putting skills at the top of the tree can really give you a competitive edge. Highly skilled employees work more efficiently, produce better quality goods and services and are more reliable.

Poor management skills at any level are known to hamper SME growth.  Investors In People estimated in September 2015 that poor management costs the UK economy £84bn a year in wasted time.

5.    Staff value qualifications

The big advantage of qualifications is that they prove someone has learned something.  In the case of CMI qualifications, staff can gain accreditation for what they have learned in the workplace. Qualifications also motivate people to achieve, giving you a better return on your investment.

Training is not just something for your employees, but something you should consider as the owner of an SME

Taking on the heady responsibilities of managing a business is not for the fainthearted. It can mean long hours, worry and stress, as well as times of sheer delight and exhilaration. There are also times when it seems complex and the solutions are not evident or readily spring to mind.

Running a small business isn’t easy; it’s a constant juggling act of managing finances, marketing, sales, people, admin and everything in between.  Fitting in training for yourself may feel like a luxury, but in a role where you need to be an expert in every facet of business, you’re the most important person to consider. Putting aside time to invest in yourself is time well spent.

Why SMEs are choosing distance learning Business and Management courses for training staff and Leaders

For a small business flexibility must be built into training so that it can fit around the demands of day-to-day activities. Distance learning training can offer a great way for people to fit their development around their workload and split it into manageable chunks.

Arming your people with the most up-to-date technical expertise that they need to do their job is clearly the key, but so are the soft skills required to manage customers and colleagues effectively.

The benefits of distance-learning training for SMEs include:

  • Eliminates — or greatly reduces — ancillary, non-learning expenses of small business training, such as travel and lodging costs for participants
  • Enables students to work at their own pace and convenience so they avoid downtime
  • Enables participants to not only experience training and development in real time but also store and subsequently retrieve information transmitted through the course
  • Enables students to set up individualised objectives and establish milestones to mark different levels of achievement

Benefits of distance learning with Brighton School of Business & Management

The Brighton School of Business and Management (BSBM) has built a reputation for delivering high quality distance-learning Leadership and Management courses, with high quality support and guidance, which results in high pass rates, as well as contributing to successful career progression for students.

Our core Management and Leadership Training programmes address the needs of enterprising Managers and Leaders in SMEs. Our programmes are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), which is the UK’s only chartered professional body dedicated to raising standards of Management and Leadership across all sectors of UK commerce and industry.

The key benefits to SMEs in choosing a BSBM distance-learning course are:

1. Flexibility in studying

SMEs particularly value the fact that our type of training fits in well with the unplanned demands of working life. When your business is small, this means staff must often be more flexible and willing to take up the slack in different parts of the organisation than they would in a larger office.  Our distance learning courses mirror this approach by allowing participants to access information as and when they need it.

From a business point of view, distance learning also enables your employees to undertake further training with minimal impact on the day to day working of your company.  The value to your company in increased learning from undertaking these courses is one thing, but time out of the office, even for a few days, can be really disruptive – especially in a small business.

2. Our high level of support

People perceive they will lack support if they undertake distance learning. That could not be further from the truth at BSBM, where we offer individual support from a Tutor and review a student’s progress continually. Students can communicate with their Tutor directly via Skype and email.

3. A truly affordable training option

One final, but very important, advantage to choosing distance learning is its cost-effectiveness. We understand that this is very important for SMEs and means your staff can access the same kinds of higher level learning opportunities as with larger companies, but at a fraction of the cost, and with no travel costs or time.

Affordable, flexible, comprehensive, fully supported, distance learning with BSBM is the perfect way that SMEs can contribute to their staff skill base and enhance their career progression, without having to pay for it with too much time or money.

So, maximise the value of your secret weapons in growing your business, with Leadership and Management distance learning from BSBM.

GBS Corporate Training – Flexible, bespoke, accredited programmes

Alternatively, if you are looking for training which can be completely customised to suit your specific business needs and skill shortages then GBS Corporate Training, a sister company within the GBS Corporate Training Group, offers flexible programmes created specifically for your organisation.  GBS will tailor course content to accommodate your unique business needs or to address skills shortages in your organisation. Through this approach, you can be sure your employees are gaining new knowledge and skills that will be relevant to your company.

GBS is an approved training provider for the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) and the Chartered Quality Institute (CQI). In fact many of our solutions can lead to a person having Chartered status.

We listen to our clients carefully and so are able to support them to achieve real behavioural change in a business world that is constantly changing.

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