The CIM is putting forward the suggestion for debate in its latest biannual Shape The Agenda paper, called “Access all areas? How Government helps small and medium-sized enterprises”.
The thrust of the paper is that the CIM should position itself as a business development organisation and that most of the problems of SMEs are marketing problems.
For instance, the paper asserts, SMEs grapple with strategic identification of what customers want, how to tailor products and services, finding gaps in the market and communicating with customers in the right way.
The paper suggests the range of information, grants and training offered by the Government to small businesses is often not exploited “because the language and context of how help is delivered does not resonate with the needs of SMEs”.
It argues that the Government should act as a point of access for SMEs via Business Link but other bodies should deliver tailored business solutions.
“Part of the way to do this more effectively is to recognise that many ‘business development’ issues are marketing issues,” the paper says.
Jonathan Deacon, senior lecturer in marketing and entrepreneurship at Newport Business School, states in the paper: “The desire for marketing support, for example, is usually seen by the Government as a need for training. What the small company really needs is mentoring.”