Belfast Telegraph

Monday 15 September 2014

‘Success blueprint’ for SMEs revealed in new joint study

A new study has today revealed a blueprint for small businesses which could mean a £393m boost to the Northern Ireland economy.

The research by Warwick Business School, commissioned by Royal Mail, reveals that more than a third of Northern Ireland’s SMEs are just one step away from accelerating their profitability.

The paper says that small businesses in Northern Ireland have a high take up of the “blueprint for success” criteria, with 44% of them implementing three of six key characteristics.

But 35% are just one step away from achieving their potential, and safeguarding their business by increasing their turnover growth by 34% over three years.

A team of researchers has compared growth rates amongst 500 small and medium sized businesses across the UK and their competitors.

Adopting any three of the six factors enables firms to out-perform their competitors and the industry average in terms of growth and profitability. The findings indicate that those in business services are most likely to adopt the blueprint, with 56% take-up amongst businesses in the sector.

The hard-hit construction industry is least likely to be adopting the blueprint, with only 27% of businesses in the sector adhering to it

The factors are flexibility, business process efficiency, marketing, human resources, planning, growth ambition, and research and development. Stephen Roper, professor of enterprise at Warwick Business School said: “Adopting the blueprint will help these firms to make the most of these new opportunities, and maximise their growth and profit |potential.”

Tim Rivett, head of small business, Royal Mail said: “These findings will help smaller firms to identify where they can improve their business and achieve growth. The characteristics are practical and easily applicable for the majority of businesses.”

For more information download the free guide at www.royalmail.com/blueprint .

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