Success in scaling-up is not only good for the businesses themselves, but also delivers many benefits for the wider economy, including the people who they employ as well as the community in which they operate. At a multi-stakeholder conference organised in Lahore by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), business leaders and regulators discussed the role of governance measures to address Pakistan’s financing gap, alongside the need to formulate policy to help SMEs to scale-up.
“27% of SMEs don’t have a vision that covers more than the next 12 months,” the report finds. However, most SMEs are aware of the benefits of good governance practice but, faced with limited time and resource, many still fail to put it in practice – which could be costly to long-term success.
How vision and strategy helps small businesses succeed is the latest in a global research programme supporting SME growth from ACCA launched today at an event that brought together over 60 SME leaders in Pakistan including representatives from Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA). The business leaders who spoke at the event included Nadia Seth, GM Policy and Planning, SMEDA, Ghalib Nishtar, President, Khushhali Bank and Kamal Mian, Director, Fast Cables.
The report outlines the governance needs of SMEs, where simple but effective practice over vision, strategy and human capital can provide them with greater flexibility, adaptability and resilience as they grow – a huge factor in the long-term sustainability of the business.
“If you incorporate good practice for running your business from an early stage, your company is more likely to be resilient and is more likely to appeal to external investment. Good governance is fundamental for all SMEs but more so in Pakistan, where a majority of businesses sit within this business segment” explained Arif Masud Mirza, Regional Head of Policy – MESA, ACCA at the event.
The research also found that half (49%) of SMEs do not involve anyone external in their strategy discussions, despite the benefits experienced by those that do, which include additional experience and knowledge of the industry/sector (according to 46%), an independent perspective / constructive criticism (44%) and advice on their growth strategy (39%).
Speaking at the event, Kamal Mian, Director, Fast Cables said, “At Fast Cables we have a clearly set and communicated vision and mission underpinned by core values of Quality, Innovation, Customer Focus, Performance with Integrity, Teamwork and Respect for People. I believe the factors of success indicated by ACCA’s report should be built into any future policy supporting SMEs in Pakistan, Vision and Core Values are the bedrock of long-term success.”
During the panel discussion, Nadia Seth, GM Policy and Planning, SMEDA said, “ACCA’s report ‘How Vision and Strategy Helps Small Business Succeed’ complements SMEDA’s vision of ‘serving as an engine of sustainable growth’ and our mission to assist the building of ‘Scale and Competitiveness of SMEs’.”
Ghalib Nishtar, President of the Khushhali Bank Limited said, “The findings from ACCA’s global report ‘How Vision and Strategy Helps Small Succeed’ resonate with Khushhali’s mandate to ‘establish sustainable platforms’ and ‘promote high quality governance’ in our client base. We have to examine how we can support the smallest businesses enterprises to scale up.”
Arif Masud Mirza concluded the panel discussion, saying: “We hope that this research helps SMEs in focusing on some of the most crucial issues, and can be a resource not just to SMEs themselves but also to policymakers.”