Small businesses 'suffering from a lack of leadership'

Thursday 14 April 2016

Small businesses are suffering from a lack of leadership, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) - something that could provide contractors with an opportunity to market their skills.

Writing for the Nottingham Post, development manager at the FSB Natalie Gasson explains that a dearth of management and leadership skills is hampering small businesses' growth. Drawing on findings from 'Leading the way: boosting leadership and management in small firms', a recent report from the FSB, she notes that in many small businesses, specific management training is often lacking.

This provides an interesting opportunity for management consultants, who can help plug the gaps caused by the current skills shortage by providing management expertise and guidance to keep companies on track while upskilling their management staff.

The study found some 26 per cent of small firms claimed they have never had any kind of management training, while just 25 per cent had received such training in the past 12 months. Both cost and the availability of relevant training programmes were cited as key reasons for the shortage, with 43 per cent and 34 per cent of firms respectively identifying these problems.

As well as hampering business growth, such skills shortages can also slow productivity, Ms Gasson explains, providing insight into how the services of consultants can help in such situations.

At the same time, demand for limited company contractors has risen in recent months. This is according to the latest employment data from the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) and Staffing Industry Analysts, which showed the total number of vacancies advertised exhibited a two per cent year-on-year rise.

"Given how sensitive temporary demand is to the state of the economy, the decent increase in professional temporary and contract vacancies suggests that the UK economy is still relatively stable, despite the 'cocktail of threats' George Osborne warned about in his latest Budget," commented John Nurthen, executive director of global research at Staffing Industry Analysts.

To make the most of the opportunities presented by management skills shortages and a rise in temporary positions, contractors should take steps to ensure they are marketing their skills effectively at this time. 

This includes clarifying what your unique strengths are - what you can bring to projects that makes your approach different from other candidates'. An up-to-date, strong CV is, of course, essential, and ideally you will have a LinkedIn profile to match, which will allow your skills to be found more easily by prospective clients. It is also a good idea to make sure your own skills in leadership and management are as up-to-the-minute as they can be - this will help give you a competitive edge when applying for temporary management consultancy jobs.

By Victoria McDonnell

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