Issue 0022 Business Management Services That Can Help An SME Grow
Many business operators run out of time to effectively manage their business. There are all types of problems that confront business operators from:
- hiring of staff;
- talking to customers;
- preparing quotations;
- supervising the work being produced;
- liaising with industry representatives;
- meeting with accountants and lawyers; and
- meeting with marketing managers and various other advisors.
Many SMEs continually asks the question, “Who can assist me to get through these problems?” Accountants, who are offering business advisory services, are able to make recommendations to you, relating to services provided by external organisations. We are aware of a business management service that has assembled an outstanding team of experienced business operators, which is available for secondment to a small business operator to give him/her assistance for a period of time, which can range from a few days through to a year, or longer, if required.
What are the types of services that can be provided by an external business management advisor?
- Developing a plan for the business – this should be a workable plan that is going to assist in a strategic review of all aspects of the business.
- A lean/waste management analysis to identify where improvements can be made in the day-to-day business operations.
- The appointment of an external business person can add considerable ‘clout’ to an individual business when the business is meeting with third parties, in particular, significantly larger third parties, by having an experienced business person sitting at the table representing the SME.
Why would small business operators want to hire an external consultant to assist?
The range can include assisting the business person get on with other business activities, such as:
- a major research and development project;
- the development of a new business;
- the opening of a new branch; and
- having a holiday.
Who is going to run the business whilst the owner or manager is undertaking any of these activities? An external business management service can assist you with this.
What are some of the services, besides business management operations, to which a business management service could attend?
A business management service can assist in the establishment and management of a Customer Relations Management (CRM) system. Every business should have one. The challenge is to set up the CRM properly to ensure customer information is recorded whenever a contact is made with the customer.
General Customer Management
What did the customer purchase and at what price? What specials were offered? What other inducements were offered? What agreements were reached with that customer?
An external business advisor can assist in the establishment of a human resources system for the business that complies with Fair Work Australia’s requirements.
Assistance could be given in implementing appropriate staff training programs to assist team members in their day-to-day performance.
Assistance could be given in creating appropriate salary packaging plans for individual team members.
Business financing can cover a number of areas including:
- Bank overdrafts
- Hire purchase
- Debtors’ factoring
- Export financing
The external general manager can facilitate negotiations with banks and other financiers the small business operator might have been hesitant in approaching.
Succession planning is very important for all businesses, no matter what age the business is. Succession planning doesn’t just apply to the management level; succession planning applies to all levels throughout the business. The external general manager should be able to assist in the establishment of an appropriate succession planning strategy for the business.
Business operators all have different milestones to when they might wish to exit the business. An external manager can assist the owners and business managers determine an appropriate exit plan and then assist in the implementation of that plan.
One of the key areas of concern is Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S). There are important legal obligations for directors and managers to ensure all of the team members are working in a safe workplace. Similar requirements apply to safeguarding any visitors to the workplace. An external manager will have the experience to be able to assist in the implementation of an appropriate range of strategies to overcome these risks.
Personal Property Securities Act
The Personal Property Securities Act (PPSA) and the associated Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR) is a potential disaster area for many businesses who are ignorant of the requirements of the PPSA. The name of the legislation, ‘personal property’, is misleading, whereby many people don’t believe that it applies to business assets. Another problem is that compliance with the PPSA is voluntary. This has misled a number of small business operators to believe that, because the PPSA is voluntary, there mustn’t be too much to worry about. Nothing could be further from the truth. This legislation has the ability to financially ruin a business through complete ignorance of its requirements. There have already been substantial court cases in Australia and, in virtually every case, the judgement has been in favour of a liquidator or receiver acting for a secured creditor, not the business that originally paid for the asset. An external business manager can assist in organising the businesses’ affairs to ensure the business obtains the best of both worlds – voluntary registration, but knowing when it is appropriate to register on the PPSR. Insurance Review Insurance reviews are very important. Many businesses overlook an annual insurance review. An external general manager with experience in a range of insurance covers can assist a business owner to ensure the business has appropriate covers.
It’s desirable that every business operator has a working knowledge of what his/her competitors are doing. However, this is a time consuming task and also requires a fair knowledge of what is going on in the marketplace. Many small business operators haven’t got the time to undertake the monitoring task. An external general manager can assist in monitoring competitors.
In today’s business world, it’s appropriate to operate with a website. An external general manager can assist on the implementation of a website that suits the particular business and then implements policies for the ongoing maintenance of the website.
Social media is an integral part of business management. However, many businesses have not adopted this communication channel to communicate with customers, prospects, suppliers, etc. An external general manager can assist in analysing the opportunities that are available within social media, to promote individual businesses.
Networking and Promotion
There’s a whole range of other organisations that can assist an SME. These can include:
- government agencies;
- industry organisations;
- Chambers of Commerce;
- tenants at a shopping; and
- business at an industrial area.
An experienced external general manager can assist in identifying these networking promotional opportunities.
What is going on in the market? What are the new market opportunities for your business and does that lead to planning acquisitions of new businesses? This can be a very difficult process and having another ‘pair of hands’ to assist can be very beneficial.
Businesses need marketing plans and they need someone within the organisation who has flair and skill to develop the marketing strategies and promotional events that are going to be held. These might be:
- regular newsletters;
- blog articles on the website;
- functions; and
- exhibits at industry trade shows.
An external general manager can assist the owners and management of a business to implement these types of marketing strategies.
Cost control includes looking at the business’ cost base. Can savings be implemented in some of the key expenses? Could you obtain more cooperation from suppliers, either in cost reduction or in promotional assistance? If you’re hesitant to approach a major supplier, than an external general manager should be able to assist you with that task.
Accountants can assist
Accountants, who are offering a wider range of services, should be able to assist small business operators identify appropriate external business management advisors. In the first instance, we suggest that you have a discussion with your accountant, to ascertain whether your accountant is able to give you some introductions. If your accountant is unable to assist you, please don’t hesitate to send an email to with your location and postcode and we will send you the names of accountants, within your area, who are able to give you an introduction to the external business management service, as mentioned in this article.
If you have any questions on services that accountants, utilising ESS BIZTOOLS and ESS BIZGRANTS, are offering to their SME clients, please don’t hesitate to contact us. If you wish to receive future episodes of Survival Hints for Small Business series, you can visit our iTunes – Podcasts - Survival Hints for Small Business page and subscribe to our podcasts. If you have any questions or suggestions on future items to be covered in Survival Hints for Small Business, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
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Episode S022 Business Management Services That Can Help An SME Grow
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