Blog: Confessions of an SME – making time for your business.

Blog: #Confessions of an SME – making time for your business.

In a series of blogs, we will be looking at some of the issues and challenges we have faced as an SME over our 14 years in business in a bid to share with you the lessons we have learnt. In our first edition our Operations Director, Bill Norris, looks at the importance of making time to give your business some TLC…


So, here goes our first confession – ‘We haven’t always made time for our business’

I’m sure you can all relate to the time pressures SMEs face, we are all busy getting on with the day to day pressures, and delivering work to our clients, that sometimes it’s easy to put off making time to plan for the future direction of your business, meaning you can lose vision of your strategy. The problem with this way of working may mean you miss opportunities and ideas.

In the past, we certainly did not spend quality time on team activities, meaning that we were working in isolation and were less innovative than we are now in developing our company. So, we decided to change this, and are glad to say that for the past few years we have dedicated annual ‘team away days’. Alongside our regular management meetings, the whole BIC team gets together twice a year for training and to plan the next exciting chapter of our business. And, of course, to have some fun!

This is has been invaluable to moving forward as a team. Here are just some of the lessons we have learnt since implementing regular team days at BIC:


Make use of the talent around you…

We have a great deal of talent and experience in the company and the Board believe it is important we give everyone the opportunity to be involved in developing our strategy and business plan.  By doing this our plan will be better and our people will be more committed to deliver it.


New environments = new ideas

It is important our team meet face to face, learn from each other and build relationships around trust and respect. It would be difficult to do this unless people had the opportunity to meet and get to know each other. Getting away from the desk and interacting with colleagues in a completely new environment can lead to generation of new and unique ideas. Without the usual distractions, people can think differently.


Develop a shared vision and culture

People are noticeably more motivated and committed after the away day. Many good ideas have been implemented following past team days. For example, we used to talk about cross referring between programmes, now we actually do it. There are numerous examples of clients we have taken ‘on a journey of support’ EEN – I2S – SMART – Food Export – AGP etc, which has led to our clients achieving more.


Happy people are more productive.

Because we have been successful we can invest a day developing the team’s wellbeing. When a company focuses on the team’s wellbeing it shows that they care. A team day is a break from the daily grind and great way to feel more refreshed and energised. It is a shared experience that people will remember.


Our summer meeting…

Last week we met at our stunning new office in M-Sparc on Anglesey, which is a great environment to work. We spent a day looking at how we can work differently and collaboratively to improve our services to our clients, as well as introducing and discussing new internal processes.

The next day, the whole team enjoyed an exhilarating rib ride on the Menai Straits, special thanks to Anglesey Boat Trips for the trip and showing us the delights of the Menai Straits. Many colleagues did not realise what a beautiful part of the world it is, and are likely to return, so it is also great to contribute to boosting tourism at the same time!


Over to you…

Are you an SME with a confession? Get in touch and share your learnings with us! Use #SMEConfessions to get in touch. Or if you haven’t yet found the answer to your confessions, get in touch as we may be able to help!


*Bill is an experienced practitioner in achieving change and performance improvement within challenging business environments. A senior manager with experience in both the private and public sectors, with a track record of facilitating change and delivering performance improvements. Experienced in a wide range of best practice principles delivering solutions in team orientated environments. Bill has held positions including Chair of the Powys Regeneration Partnership and Vice Chair of the Central Wales Economic Forum and Director of Career Choices Dewis Gyrfa, the all Wales careers advisory organisation. In August 2009 he joined BIC Innovation, becoming a Director and shareholder where he is continuing to support all businesses across Wales to develop their full potential. Read More.