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How to grow your business from the inside

Explore the opportunities for growing your business by engaging employees through better leadership and management.

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Growth and SMEs are hot topics in today's economic and political climate. Government and business groups are looking to the UK's small and medium-sized businesses to grow the country out of recession, but with difficulties accessing finance and restricted cash flow how are businesses expected to grow?

Thankfully developing the conditions for growth doesn't always have to mean large expenditure. Taking a closer look at what you already have in your business can be as effective as considering new products and hiring new staff.

An engaged, high performing workforce is as essential to a business as its customer base. It is however up to business leaders to ensure that they are maximising the potential of their workforce through strong, effective leadership and management.

Engaging your workforce

The evidence is clear: engaged employees are more likely to be satisfied with their work, less likely to be sick and have a better rates of retention. In terms of performance and profit, highly engaged employees achieve a financial performance that is four times greater than companies with poor engagement and achieve a 16% higher profit margin than disengaged colleagues. From the evidence it is easy to conclude that employee engagement is an essential precondition for growth. But how exactly do business owners engage employees? Through strong leadership and management of course. 

Developing leadership and management in your business

Ineffective management is estimated to cost UK businesses over £19bn a year in working hours. This is perhaps not surprising when it is realised that less than half of mangers get training or development over the course of a year. Our Training and Skills Panel (August 2012) echoed this lack of training and experience, revealing that only 16% of members were undertaking some sort of leadership and management training.

Leadership and management can seem like another time consuming burden that small business owners don't have time for, but leadership and management doesn't always have to fall to the owners. Owners should assess their leadership and management capabilities and those of their staff. If there is someone else in your business with the management skills and experience you lack, it is time to consider taking a step back and delegating. 

Ensuring there is clear, transparent leadership in your business combined with supportive managers who take the time to listen to and consider employees views and opinions leads to a more engaged workforce. Engagement is a two way dialogue that needs the backing of employees and the support of strong leadership and management.

Taking small steps to instil a positive, engaged culture in your business will help you maximise the potential of your workforce and contribute to growth.

You can read about planning for growth here.

Last updated 4th July 2016.

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