The Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) World – LogiSYM July 2020
Governments around the world are rightly concerned about the current and after-effects of Covid-19 on their economies and particularly, on small businesses. Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) are the backbone of domestic economies – generally accounting for more than 90% of all businesses, more than 50% of all employment and more than 50% of Gross Domestic Product. It’s therefore no surprise that there are so many stimulus and rescue packages for SMEs, and the general workforce.
To help get through the devastation of lockdowns and prepare for “new normals”, many governments have stopped “following the science” and begun resurrecting their economies rather than protecting and saving lives. The loosening lockdown is about money and politics…what isn’t? But remember the words of Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana: “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.”
Some of the big accounting firms and brand name consultants have been busily drafting processes, procedures and recommendations on how to operate business post-pandemic. Most of these practitioners’ work are targeted toward national and multi-national corporations. Fancy charts, pictorial power-points, technical words and scientific jargon aim to distil wisdom but largely fall short of what the SME world needs.
SME owners are pragmatic and practical people. Their world is not one of scientific methodologies, of setting up war rooms, pivoting to win, proprietary algorithms, alignment and empowerment, reinvigorations and regenerations etc. What they need and want is practical advice and solutions that work; they want performance and they want results – for their business.
Having worked with entrepreneurs in four continents over several decades, the most common phrase one hears is: “We’re different. In (insert country), we do things differently.” Guess what, people and business men and women across the world aren’t that different. They all have the same concerns and same set of issues to contend with – cashflow, sales, profitability, costs, people, funding, regulations, time. And whether they acknowledge or admit, they all need help.
Helping SMEs is not science but art. They are less sophisticated than their peers working in big-name organisations on the top floors of glass skyscrapers. They neither necessarily want to be nor pretend to be sophisticated, and they don’t need big-name business-school types telling them the latest theories in quantum physics nor impressing them with prevailing business gibberish. They simply want roll-up-the-sleeves, hands-on-deck, wounded but experienced, healed and now wise heads – people who really have “been there, done that, and survived to tell the tale” to walk with them on the journey to their dreams.
To help these people, give them your time and your attention. Don’t be interesting but interested. Tell them your stories, your painful experiences, and yoSynopsisur lessons learnt. Help them to intentionally and continuously develop and grow. Show them solutions and options, show and add value to them, and show them that “Everything rises and falls on Leadership!” (John Maxwell)
Almost all SME owners feel lonely at times. Care for them, because “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” (John Maxwell). And when they know and feel the care, they’ll want and need you to help them in their business today – and forever.