Leadership skills in high demand

Wednesday 16 March 2016

New research has shown that leadership and management skills are in high demand for small businesses.

The report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that training in these areas could help firms of this size become more productive and even encourage growth.

This suggests that self-employed professionals with these skills will have the best chance of success when going limited or even starting up growing their brand into a small business. Many people who decide to leave a corporate job and work for themselves have strong management and leadership qualities as these are necessary to successfully run your own company.

FSB's research also indicated that consultants with strong skills in management and leadership could profit from this shortfall in small businesses as they found that specific training in these areas were often lacking for companies of this size.

It found that three-fifths of of small business owners update their business knowledge and skills at least once a year, but one in four had never had any management training at all.

Mike Cherry, FSB policy director, said the 5.4 million small businesses in the UK have some of the most dynamic and creative business leaders in the world but the research suggests that more investment in management skills could help them to grow and realise their ambitions.

The research revealed that many small businesses often overlook their own staff when it comes to training them in management skills, with less than a fifth (19 per cent) doing so.

It also identified a number of problems that can prevent smaller companies from upskilling their employees.

Budget was a significant factor, with nearly half (43 per cent) of firms citing this as an issue. However, consultants can be a cost-effective solution for smaller businesses.

Other problems included availability of relevant training, with more than a third (34 per cent) listing this as an issue.

Mr Cherry concluded: "The UK is well known as being a great place to start a business, but we need to get better at helping small firms reach the next level. A key aspect of this is making sure the right management and leadership capabilities are in place, and that these grow in line with the business."

However, he said there needs to be better support for small businesses that want to improve their capabilities in management and leadership. Getting this right will enable the UK to nurture more world-beating businesses and boost productivity in the wider economy, Mr Cherry added.

By Victoria McDonnell

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