Former PwC partner urges SMEs to get ‘business fit’ before scaling up

| August 23, 2019

You can’t run a marathon without preparation, but Karen Crawford, ex-PwC partner and current Advisory Board Chair for several growing businesses, says that many emerging businesses are trying to do just that.

By focus on scaling up quickly, without ensuring they have the right structure, processes and support in place, she claims that many can be left uncertain and exposed when things go wrong. Karen suggests a simple̶ business fitness test and has recently partnered with Global Governance Initiative (GGI) to address the need for practical training for her clients and other SMEs.

“GGI has designed a practical, fit-for-purpose training package that addresses the needs of small to medium businesses. This has been a largely ignored sector but the need for solid training is just as great – maybe greater – if you’re a family business, a community based not-for-profit, a growing manufacturer or even a start-up selling goods online from your garage,” she said.

Karen said that her clients are all experts at what they do, but they often find that they are missing a few pieces of the puzzle when it comes to taking the next step to scale up their business. She said that this can mean they need to gain solid knowledge of their obligations and liabilities as a business owner, learn how to build a great culture, know how to consider their social obligations or how to find the right balance between risk and innovation.

“What many of my clients – and businesses in general – have in common is the need for a framework by which to make great decisions, or the how to conduct their business,” she said.

“The traditional approach to this type of training – known as ‘governance’ – has been very expensive, classroom based and pitched to the top end of town and high-powered boardrooms,” she said.

“The price of the GGI product puts game-changing training within reach of this market for the first time – and in a format that is flexible, inclusive and engaging.”

GGI’s governance training package is available online and can be completed where, when and how participants choose. It’s globally recognised and recently picked up silver in the global LearnX Live awards for innovation in online learning.

Ever wonder how your approach to running your business measures up? Do you know what your obligations are as a business owner – to your staff, your customers – and what your position will be when things go wrong? Do you believe you have everything in place but just want to take your business to the next level?

Take the business fitness test to see how you measure up:

Do you have a plan that defines your purpose and strategy?

Do you have a clearly defined set of values to guide HOW you do business?

Have you considered the risks associated with your business and what’s your plan if things go wrong?

Do you understand how your business is set up legally and whether you have duties and liabilities as a director?

Do you regularly review your hiring processes and ensure employment practices comply with current legislation?

You understand profit and loss statements, but do you understand the whole story your balance sheet is telling you?

Would all of your practices stand up to scrutiny if they were published on the front page of the newspaper or reported on the nightly news?

Karen recommends that if you answered ‘No’ to any of the questions in the test, you may want to consider doing some training to get ‘business fit’.