This morning Farleys had the pleasure of sponsoring Insider’s SME Growth breakfast discussion. The event, attended by over 100 business people from across Manchester, looked at the issues facing SME’s in the current market.

Bringing to life stories from a sector that accounts for the vast majority of UK business, the session was both informative and engaging.

Panellists at the session included Anthony Duffy, managing director of DSL Engineering Solutions, Simon Vardy, managing director of Sim Trava, Eamonn Walsh, chairman and technical director of Brainboxes, Nick Dykins, managing director of Slingco and Richard Ainscough, managing director of Network Space. We were delighted that Farleys client Ben Williamson, Finance Director from electronic cigarette company Totally Wicked, was also invited onto the panel to discuss their business’ rapid growth.

I really enjoyed the discussion and found some of the comments very insightful. The panellists, each being from a different industry sector, brought a different perspective that was interesting to note. There were however some common themes that ran through all of the panellist’s comments that all of those who attended could benefit from. These included:

  1. Investment in staff – they are the lifeblood of your business. Give them room to grow and flourish and know when the time is right to let them have their own ‘head of steam’. Invest in training them – you will reap the rewards.
  2. Managing cash flow – businesses rarely fail for lack of orders, the most common reason for failure is running out of cash.
  3. Choose your partners carefully – it’s important to work with people who are as passionate about your growth as you are.
  4. Be brave – sometimes the right decisions go against ‘conventional wisdom’.
  5. Plan ahead – don’t take a short term view.
  6. Have a clear strategy and follow it.

The panellists had businesses of different shapes and sizes but the themes across their business journeys were fairly consistent across the board. I will take away some valuable advice that I can look to implement in my own business.