SMEs: Future Ready
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a critical part of the global economy, driving job creation and economic development. In fact, SMEs represent more than 90% of all businesses worldwide, providing over 50% of total employment. Looking toward the future, it is clear that the demand for jobs will continue to grow, with an estimated 600 million jobs needed by 2030 to accommodate the expanding global workforce. As such, supporting the growth and development of SMEs will be essential for driving job creation and sustainable economic growth.
PREPARING SMES FOR THE FUTURE
To stay competitive in a rapidly changing business environment, SMEs need to have future readiness—the capability to respond to disruptions and capitalize on new opportunities. Developing this ability can not only benefit the businesses themselves but also contribute to broader societal goals such as job creation, inclusive growth, and sustainable development. Future readiness for SMEs is characterized by three core characteristics: sustainable growth, societal impact, and adaptive capacity. To achieve sustainable growth, SMEs must focus on developing innovative products and services that can generate lasting financial strength. Additionally, their business model should be designed to address positive and negative externalities, while also having a positive impact on the society and environment. Finally, SMEs must excel in their agility and resilience, enabling them to quickly bounce back from challenges and seize opportunities in an evolving market.
DRIVERS TO BECOME FUTURE READY
The drivers to become future ready are crucial for their success and ability to thrive in a constantly evolving business landscape. A company's orientation, or its style and culture, influences how it approaches and deals with important decisions, which can have a significant impact on its operations. Additionally, business model flexibility, or the ability to adapt its strategic plans to create financial and other forms of value, is essential for SMEs to remain competitive. Finally, networks, or formal professional relationships, enable members to support each other and increase the effectiveness of their business activities.
As SMEs continue to play a crucial role in global economic development, it is critical for them to become future ready that not only support their own growth but also contribute to the broader society's well-being. By focusing on these core characteristics and drivers, SMEs can thrive in the ever-changing business landscape, navigate challenges, and seize opportunities that arise, leading to a brighter and more prosperous future.
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