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A new report published by insurance and pension provider Standard Life has revealed the key drivers of success for UK SMEs over the next five years. Having polled both SME leaders and employees, the report highlights the fundamental trends of collaboration, empowerment and adaptability as central to growth

SME leaders said the number one priority is to empower the workforce, by building an environment that encourages creativity and innovation.

Employees agreed, stating that the most desirable quality in a business leader is the ability to empower and trust their colleagues.

The report also found that the traditional five-year business planning cycle is largely a thing of the past, with 82 per cent of SME leaders altering their strategy at least once a year and almost three fifths doing so at least every six months.

Meanwhile, 60 per cent of employees felt ‘adaptability’ is the most important attribute for professional success.

Stephen Ingledew, Standard Life Managing Director of Marketing, said: “SMEs are an important part of our client base, and we wanted to take a closer look at the behaviours these business leaders and their employees adopt to achieve success and fuel entrepreneurship.

“Our research shows that UK SMEs are strongly committed to building working environments that encourage and nurture flexibility and innovation.”

The report stated that business leaders believed that the most productive workforce can be achieved by offering employees flexible working conditions (41 per cent) and by investing in future potential (40 per cent), with training/upskilling the number one focus in the next half a decade.

Indeed, at McPhersons, our staff values our flexible working conditions. In fact, some cite this as the main reason they came to us. The work life balance is a key factor to consider and at McPhersons, staff are able to plan their working day around childcare, dog-walking, socialising and other interests.

With employees at every level of qualification and some with us for over 40 years, we understand that development and support with study and qualification are vital as well as necessary for staff retention.

The majority (69 per cent) of leaders also believe the role of CEO/MD will become more diverse and accessible to their workforce in the future, it is a position that is still seen as out of reach by many employees, with 56 per cent expecting promotion to CEO to become far more challenging over the next five years.

Stephen Ingledew added: “SMEs are generally very outward-looking and focused on retaining strong core values which help them attract and retain the best talent.

“The research indicates that they regard positive contributions to society as an important measure of success, and that they carefully consider how their decisions impact their broader industry, their people and their communities.”

Need more help?

This feature aims  to give some informal hints and McPhersons are offering small businesses free advice so get in touch now to arrange your free meeting on 01424 730000 or info@mcphersons.co.uk

The Bank of England is holding UK interest rates at a record low of 0.5% and the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8 to 1 to keep rates the same.

UK interest rates have remained unchanged for over six years and Ian McCafferty, a committee member, disagreed and voted for a quarter-point rate rise for a third month in a row.

Inflation will stay below 1% until spring 2016 and cost pressures in the UK’s labour market is rising too slowly for inflation to return to the Bank’s 2% target, the central bank said.

Although inflation has stayed around 0% for a few months, the Bank indicated that the fading effect of last year’s oil price falls and robust domestic growth would cause it to increase to 2% next year.

So, your business is doing great and your attracting interest from companies from overseas and a face to face meeting is needed to seal the deal and at this point your probably asking the question, ‘What is the best Business Etiquette to use with them’ as how you come across at home as polite might have the opposite effect with foreign partners. Whilst this is a fear for many of us, this great infographic should help you avoid these cultural mistakes that could cost your business orders and profits.

Check it out.

global manners


Ever wondered how important body language is in business? If you didn’t know check out this fun and informative infographic to see just how important it is.

Getting Ahead in Business with Body Language

Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Special thanks to Gengo.com for letting us share this great infographic.