SMEs: Resilience & Agility
The operation of SMEs is often disrupted, whether due to the spread of COVID-19, the ongoing war, or other political issues. Knowing this, SMEs must strive to be resilient to absorb external shocks and agile to fight crises and prepare for new opportunities with their administration. While SMEs have more advantages than big companies in some regards, namely agility and flexibility, they also have apparent drawbacks—lower income-generating potential. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s studies of SMEs in 32 countries, 70-80% had a sharp sales drop of 30-50% at the start of the pandemic. This begs the question: how can SMEs adapt their capacities to be more resilient and bounce back in the face of adversity?
Resources—finance, humans, infrastructure—are essential for businesses, and large firms often have more access to them. The resource constraints of SMEs push the most future-ready of them to focus heavily on their staff. Resources are one of the liabilities of a company. SMEs are limited in their access to these resources, thus enabling leaner business operations, which could help them survive in times of crisis. Moreover, according to a WEF report containing in-depth interviews with founders and chief executive officers of SMEs, when SMEs' leaders communicate their vision and rally employees to face complex challenges, they tend to be more successful in adverse times. With all these benefits, SMEs could stay operational amidst competition or crisis. They could leverage unique visions and cultures, as well as own-tailored self-development opportunities to gain better sales and attract more talents, all of which create more resilience.
When a business is small, it has the advantage of flexibility and efficiency. Therefore, it is more advantageous for SMEs to keep lean, thus reducing waste and creating more value. A small number of people lessens a gap in communication in the organization, whether between teams or with the leaders themselves, making a GREATer collaborative effort and alignment. Moreover, the information gets passed on faster and more effectively; when problems arise, people who are important in decision-making can proactively solve them.
Amid a volatile business world and ever-changing consumer needs, every organization must be prepared to undergo dramatic changes. While this may not solve everything, self-improvement and the ability to solve problems quickly, in the end, will allow the organization to pursue its goals effectively. As SMEs are small and adaptable organizations, they are flexible and always available for modification; a prime position to implement changes to grow from Good to GREAT.
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