Audit, tax and financial advisory specialists Mazars has undertaken a comprehensive study of EU SME performance, and the report findings provide an insight into common traits the most successful firms possess.
The study analysed the similarities and differences between small and medium sized companies in France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK, from 2008 to 2013.
The six factors highlighted as critical to prosperity are:
- Track the market closely
Today’s business landscape evolves quickly, and a firm’s position in the market should always be able to change to meet the needs of the customer. Be open to repositioning to remain profitable.
- Offer more than your competitors
For many, competition is fierce, and the need has never been greater to add value to your product or service where possible. Look to your USPs and craft a brand that engages effectively with your target audience.
- Create a resilient financial model
Capital is key to long-term growth and success, and through a safety net of retained earnings alongside a wise approach to borrowing, you can protect against unexpected losses and set a strong foundation for the future.
- Fit the size of your market
Maintain an appropriate size and structure to perform efficiently in your particular market. Employ only when additional resource is required, and look to restructure when necessary.
- Look beyond domestic borders
SMEs that limit themselves to domestic customers not only miss out on overseas trade, but face huge risk should demand drop or a new competitor enter the market.
Manage and lead
The competence of managers and their abilities as leaders was the most prominent success factor for SMEs. With leaders to follow and day-to-day activities managed effectively, a firm’s workforce is better enabled to succeed.
SMEs contribute greatly to the European economy, with almost 21 million operating today. Making a difference that elevates you above all others today could be the difference between success and failure tomorrow.