3 critical misconceptions are holding back UK SMEs as they face an ‘impossible’ year ahead, say business transformation experts

Global business leader Mark Zuckerberg is challenging Meta to make 2023 a year of efficiency. Can SMEs closer to home learn something from this? Decent Group is challenging UK small businesses to take the same approach – and to start by tackling misconceptions about business software.

2023 is set to be an extremely challenging year for UK SMEs. Recruitment is difficult if not impossible. Wage bills are spiralling and operational cost soaring. The focus is clearly on cost control, and the key to survival and success is increased productivity. Yet the UK suffers from below average productivity. What can UK SMEs do?

“The answer is staring UK businesses in the face,” says James Ducker, CEO of Decent Group, “but we see time and again in our work with SMEs that they are hindered by three key misconceptions. This really matters when the pressures for many businesses are becoming impossible.”

Misconception 1: recruitment is the way to grow

Many small businesses believe that recruiting staff is the main way to achieve growth, underpinned by the idea that capital investment is unaffordable. This is a fallacy.

“Recruiting is often used to solve problems and inefficiencies that reveal themselves as a business grows,” explains Ducker. “You throw people at it. But recruiting isn’t as low risk as many think, and the risks are rising as it becomes harder and more expensive to find the right people.”

Misconception 2: software is a cost not an investment

The second key misconception is viewing software as a cost not an investment. As a result SMEs typically end up relying on poorly fitting and outdated IT systems. 98% of UK SMEs still use spreadsheets for mission-critical missions1 – a shocking statistic.

“It can help to see capital investment in terms of salaries,” says Ducker. “A bespoke system that costs £70,000 might sound like an enormous cost, but when it’s seen as the equivalent of two salaries it comes into focus, especially as it’s a one-off payment.”

Misconception 3: SMEs can’t afford a tailored business system

Affordability is often the big misconception, the nail in the coffin of investment in time-saving, productivity-driving software for UK SMEs.

“Business leaders often assume that bespoke software is simply unaffordable for an SME, and that there’s very little available between spreadsheets and SAP or Salesforce,” explains Ducker. “It’s just not true. Today a bespoke business system is more likely to cost tens than hundreds of thousands of pounds, creating an opportunity for game-changing return on investment.”

No longer a nice-to-have

Ducker explains: “A well functioning business system is an essential for any business that wants to survive in 2023, let alone grow. It’s that stark.”

Enabling SMEs to use more tech could unlock over £200 billion a year2. For many SMEs a well-fitting business system is the most direct means available to drive efficiency and build productivity. The benefits are clear:
Gaining direct savings as staff instantly become more productive.
Driving out costly errors which lead to financial and reputational damage.
Removing cyber security risks, such as business-critical data being stored in vulnerable spreadsheets.

The secret to growth without recruiting

“At Decent we have repeatedly seen businesses transformed when they invest in powerful, well-fitting software,” concludes James Ducker.

“What’s exciting is that today bespoke systems are within the reach of SMEs, something that just wasn’t true 10 years ago. Struggling SMEs need to know that there are solutions out there.”

Decent Group has created a business systems self-audit to help SMEs evaluate their efficiency and identify the potential for software-driven improvements. This DIY document is available as a free download at www.decentgroup.co.uk/2023-year-of-efficiency/

About Decent Group

For more than 20 years, Decent has designed and built bespoke business systems that have transformed businesses across a wide range of industry sectors. These systems streamline and automate business-critical processes, making them more efficient, intuitive and robust. Decent’s team of business transformation experts is based in Swindon and helps businesses across the whole of the UK.

+44 (0)1793 250198

1 Gridfox state of technology in SMEs study
2 Sage Digital Britain report

Author: wilts-bulldog

Posted on Categories Wiltshire News

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