Small firms are being held back by a lack of management skills and leadership, a Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) report has claimed.
‘Leading the way: boosting leadership and management in small firms’, found that SMEs lack specific management training, despite 50 per cent of business owners saying they update their business knowledge and skills at least annually.
Just 25 per cent of small firms responding to the FSB’s survey said they had undertaken management training in the last year, while 26 per cent had never had any management training at all.
In addition, just 19 per cent of respondents said they send staff on external management training.
The cost of upskilling staff was cited as a significant factor, with 43 per cent saying training was too expensive. Thirty four per cent said availability of training was a problem.
The evident lack of management capability and leadership skills could explain why almost half of UK start-ups fail in the first three years.
Mike Cherry, policy director for the FSB, said: “The UK’s 5.4m small businesses boast some of the most dynamic and creative business leaders in the world.
“However, our research demonstrates how greater investment in management skills could significantly benefit start-ups and scale-ups and help them realise their growth ambitions.
“The UK is well known as being a great place to start a business, but we need to get better at helping small firms reach the next level. A key aspect of this is making sure the right management and leadership capabilities are in place, and that these grow in line with the business.
“There needs to be far better support for small businesses who want to improve their capabilities in these areas. If we get this right, we stand a real chance of creating more world beating businesses as well as boosting productivity in the wider economy.”