To grow or not to grow asks UUJ Professor of Entrepreneurship

grow_your_business1Ahead of an event for small businesses at the Ulster Business School on Thursday (March 20) entitled ‘To Grow or Not to Grow’, Pauric McGowan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Business Development, looks at factors likely to constrain SME owners from growing their business.

We are hearing a lot about how the UK is on its way to recovery, but a closer look at the financial and business picture within the UK’s small businesses would suggest that a lot of uncertainty still clouds the horizon.
Having achieved a level of success, many SME owners and managers appear reluctant to pursue further growth.

There is a need to ask the question why this is the case and to challenge business owners to think again.
Issues identified as holding many back from pursuing growth include:

  • Owners’ doubts about their competencies, particularly with respect to marketing, resource management and people management
  • Doubts about being able to access key skills to sustain growth
  • Perpetual lack of resources; fears over accessing cash flow, the impact of late payments, limited access to growth capital, poor support relationships with local banks
  • Fear of failure as one gets older and an emerging sense of risk aversion
  • Anxiety over speed and rate of recovery in the global economy

Of course not every company owner wants to pursue a strategy for their business that is solely focused on continuous, scalable growth.

Many are attracted to business ownership as a lifestyle choice for example or as a response to a particular social agenda. Some just want to keep their enterprise at a manageable level; enough to enjoy a comfortable life but to keep their enterprise lean and mean, particularly in the face of competitors.

But there are many SMEs, the owners of which, with the right outlook and support could go for further growth and for the reasons considered above don’t. Northern Ireland is not unique in terms of needing to encourage and support SME owners to reflect again on how they might go for growth in their enterprises; other parts of the UK face the same issue.

According to the most recent Global Economic Conditions Survey SME owners now need to consider a new approach, prioritising investment and seeking internationally focused market growth, as they prepare for a more stable economy.

UUJ’s Centre for SME Development has joined forces with the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE) and the Marketing Institute of Ireland to host a one-day workshop for small businesses on March 20, at the Ulster Business School, Jordanstown.

Participants will hear from businesses which have overcome the growth challenge including entrepreneur and angel investor, Bryan Keating; Moira Burke, Co-Founder of Bio-Kinetic Europe and Digital Marketing specialist, Patrick McAliskey, Novosco.

Insights from the latest academic research will be provided by Professor Pauric McGowan and Professor Mark Durkin of the Ulster Business School’s Department of Marketing, Strategy & Entrepreneurship. The day has been designed to maximise audience interaction with group and round table discussions facilitated by Mike Johnston, Executive of the Dairy Council of NI, and Professor Tony Hines of Manchester Metropolitan University.

Attendance costs £60 for ISBE members and £80 for non-members including of lunch and refreshments. To register visit www.eventsforce.net/isbe/44/register  

 

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