How to master the art of business leadership

Management is an art that businesses of all size need to master. In an ever evolving workplace, the concept of good management is becoming an increasingly multifaceted and complex phenomenon. Now covering everything from talent management to strategic business decisions, management is a broad function and as such, businesses need to get it right.

According to recent conducted research, fast growing SMEs are recognising the importance of a robust management strategy. Nearly a quarter of highly ambitious SMEs said that they feel that management is their greatest challenge over the next two years. As a result, 75 per cent have chosen to invest in business management – including planning, personnel management and restructuring – over the past six months, and 69 per cent plan to do so over the next six months.

However, before making any investment decisions, SMEs need to tread cautiously and assess business requirements. 

Here are three core management issues and some advice on how SME’s should address them:

1. Productivity and people: Managing talent

Perhaps one of the most talked about issues when it comes to business is managing productivity and talent. Ensuring you have the right people on board is vital. A skilled workforce experienced in managing projects, who understands the value technology brings to the organisation, ensures business opportunities can be optimised. More so, ensuring the talent employed is committed and reflective of the business’ long term strategy and goals is essential in driving growth.

With the right people on board, the next consideration is retaining your productive workforce by understanding the value of employee training and business solutions. Whether that means a formal development scheme, or allowing employees to bring their own devices to work, the right policy and investment in your staff can heighten productivity and employee satisfaction.

2. Business growth: Managing through change

The need for a carefully crafted management strategy becomes increasingly apparent for businesses experiencing fast growth. Fortunately, SMEs by their very nature are advantageous in their ability to be agile in response to changing demands within the business and wider economy. With a triple dip recession upon us, now is not the time to sit tight and batten down the hatches, but to think about how capitalising on new trends, markets or re-assessing your business strategy could give your business a much needed edge.

3. Planning and forecasting: Real-time management

As any business leader knows, planning and forecasting underpins business strategy, especially when projections and predictions are at the top of the boardroom agenda. More so, in an increasingly competitive and mobile environment laden with both structured and unstructured data, businesses need to optimise the information available. 

Unfortunately, big data often left untapped is seen as an unmanageable beast. With the right processes and tools businesses of all size can leverage data to understand fluctuations in sales and patterns of growth in real-time. Using these techniques, companies can become increasingly confident that their predictions are based on tangible results and past experience – rather than setting unachievable goals.

With management demands constantly evolving and redressing productivity strategies, managing through change and planning and forecasting should be front of mind for all. By thinking big – and exploring the tools available – you can ensure you are in the best position to alleviate risk and manage almost every eventuality in the year ahead, and beyond.

John Antunes is the director of SME & Channels at SAP UKI.

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