Effective time management encourages SME growth

Effective time management is integral to SME growth, according to a study that has found that punctuality makes it 20% more more likely that companies will achieve increased growth margins compared with those that have poor timekeeping and organisation.

According to financial business software firm Exact and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR), in an examination of 17 different operational functions, SMEs with better than average levels of efficiency have greater productivity and have “considerably” more successful sales growth and optimism.

While new technologies can improve performance, many more businesses said that they’d be unable to improve performance due to being tied up re-evaluating and assessing their situation, particularly companies with 40 employees or fewer.

New software for cloud and mobile tech has been “significantly” connected to better growth performance. Of almost one-fifth of businesses using cloud technology, 78% were considered to be operating at above average levels.

SMEs surveyed included those from sectors such as manufacturing, professional services, and wholesale & distribution. 70% of SMEs that were found to have operational efficiency at above average saw sales figures increase across 2014, with only 8% seeing sales decline.

This compares with the 50% of SMEs that had lower than average operational efficiency, of which 25% saw sales fall. A rare 3% of SMEs surveyed more than doubled their turnover, 56% of which had more than average efficiency and none had poor efficiency levels.

Dr Rob Baldock, principal researcher at CEEDR, said:

“These findings come on the back of recent Government statistics showing 68 per cent of the UK’s 4.9 million SMEs set out to grow their businesses last year, but only 13 per cent succeeded in doing so.

“The message from our research is an extremely strong one. Effective time management is of considerable importance in increasing performance capacity and growth, yet less than one quarter of SMEs see it that way.”

Lucy Fox, GM, cloud solutions at Exact UK, added:

“It’s also clear that one quick way for small businesses to make immediate operational efficiencies is to invest in cloud and mobile technologies – with almost 80 per cent of those businesses already doing so performing above their peers for operational efficiency. What’s more, these businesses are also experiencing better growth performance.”

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Words: Peter Cribley

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