How does good management practice increase business success?

Hugh Margesson, Senior Manager, People Management, Smith and Williamson:

There is a lot of research which shows that good management practice is a fundamental part of business success. You need managers within your business who can operate in an effective and efficient manner both in planning and implementing your business strategy so good management practice makes sense from a people management, financial management and growth perspective.

How can small business owners build their own leadership and management skills?

There's a wide range of organisations and networks available to small and medium sized enterprises and these range from the chief executive network through to local chambers of commerce. It's worthwhile taking sometime to find out how you can be involved in those and whether they will be right for you. You can get great value from networks and from other entrepreneurial people who have grown businesses and perhaps have experience which they can share with you. Don't forget also you can access training and coaching which may well be of benefit but do make sure that it's tailored to the needs of your business and the stage of business growth which you're currently at.

How can we develop the skills of a new tier of managers joining our business?

It's easy to assume that managers joining your business have all the skills that they need. This is not necessarily the case and of course they may have developed those skills in a different environment. So it's important to make sure that you do provide some sort of guidance and possibly training to managers who join the business. Otherwise you risk exposing your business to the poor handling of people and poor management of the business itself. This may include basic training for managers on subjects like delegation and coaching but of course managing people is going to be a very substantial part of this. Don't forget that it's not just a matter of training courses but the coaching, networking and what they can learn from peers within the business are all going to be really important.

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