Ingredients for a new recipe to satisfy SME’s & Professions
Thursday, 21 October, 2010 Leave a comment
29% of SME bosses admit to keeping inadequate checks on their company finances due to competing pressures on their time but the picture is likely to be worse than this, with detailed balance sheets and profit and loss forecasts only being reviewed every 18 weeks, on average. In addition, managers are failing to perform basic due diligence on customers and suppliers; 65% don’t credit check new customers, whilst 76% don’t check existing customers requesting to extend their credit terms. 30% have no formal contract at all with their business customers.
This is an alarming but not entirely surprising piece. We all know that SME leaders, by definition, are a determined (often proud) bunch whose core skills have led them to pursue their own path. Great. BUT, what this article highlights is that SME’s need help and not the type that is more about the satisfying the demands of greedy [leveraged] growth models, much-loved by Financial institutions or intermediaries infected by a similar “disease”! These organisations do not have enough money to buy what they crave most…TRUST. For the price they would have to pay is TRANSPARENCY and that is a price that they simply cannot afford.
Thankfully the development of web 2.0 has meant that cost-effective, professional, “specialist skills” can be delivered where they are needed. Some, whose focus has remained upon providing service and value, are helping SME’s to survive and are prospering themselves as a result. But there are still too many whose charging or remuneration structures (1) limit the opportunities available to them (2) fail to deliver true value.
SME’s have “battened-down the hatches” in an attempt to secure their own survival but many are ill-equipped to do so! Realistically, if all that you have learned about business has been accumulated in a buoyant economy how much do you know about succeeding in a turbulent one!? They need to be reassured that they are better to seek help. That they are not going to waste their precious time and money or look like idiots when approaching professions. It is very difficult for Professional firms – whose own development skills may have been dulled – to secure the new clients that they need [to replace those lost; to remain viable; grow] if your market place doesn’t understand the language, the proposition or just isn’t listening!
It is incumbent upon Professions, particularly those within the Financial sector [who have not compromised their values by relying upon debt to fund their ambitions], to “step up to the plate”. The reward is a huge opportunity to secure A SUSTAINABLE COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE and contribute to a [long overdue] paradigm shift in business culture.
INTERMEDIARIES: If your competitors’ success has relied upon slick, aggressive or “blanket” marketing; a large salesforce; cut price deals, it has been a hard few years when it came to retaining and winning business. But…
How do you think their clients feel about the quality of advice, cover and service they have actually received?
How many will feel that they have received value for money?
How many will still feel satisfied if your transparency shifts the game from price to value?
Can they justify their commission levels?
Will they retain the level of trust required to continue to act for the client?
Management consultants may, rightly, refer to such a change as a “Blue Ocean strategy” and, if that is accurate then it is another damning indictment upon the business culture that has prevailed and brought all of us to this critical point in the economic history of our country.
Ontonix are in the privileged position that we do not have competitors! BUT we still have the obstacle of delivering a message that identifies “new” issues as well as new solutions. So our challenge is somewhat different. Nevertheless our position is clear we are here to help businesses to build [and maintain] a robust structure to survive and thrive through these turbulent and uncertain times. By enabling them to find out for themselves – no scary Professionals to (over)charge them or make them feel bad – how healthy their business is [or isn’t] and, if the latter, where the weaknesses lie. Thereafter they can tackle the issues themselves or seek out the right people to help them in specific areas rather than incur the additional cost of starting from scratch:
Is YOUR business
We are, currently, working on a range of packages that will enable SME’s to use their current financial records to check the health of their business on-line and to receive a range of in-depth reports for minimal cost. Watch this space.
To catch up on our recent webinar click here
We are more inter-connected than at any time in the history of civilization and our futures are, to a greater or lesser extent, shared. But the complexity that is vital to underpin business systems, their ecosystems and networks carries with it its own risk. Complexity has a finite limit. The point of “critical complexity” around which a system becomes unstable, unpredictable, difficult to manage and, beyond which, it cannot function without a, potentially traumatic – even terminal – loss of functionality. Lack of transparency can add significantly to the complexity of a business system.
We need to act interdependently but, to do so requires openness in communication, product and service. Collaboration can lead to identification of both problems and solutions and serve as a platform for TRUST.
If anyone would like to know more, to contribute to or to play a part in our future plans please get in touch.