Moti’s Three Things:

Moti Shahani is currently managing director at Blue Ridge Partners, having previously held senior roles at Amex and Wolff Olins. He joined the panel as a tech and business services expert, sharing advice through a B2B lens, much of it based on his learning supporting SMEs via his business.

number 1

Set a SMART growth goal

Set suitable goals, neither so extreme as to be implausible, nor too easy. A helpful tool for this is to use the SMART acronym: goals must be Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic and Time bound. Then stick to them.

number 2

Control your top 5 risks

Every business will face risks. Write down on a single piece of paper your top concerns and refine each one into something very specific. Then work out how you can keep them under control.

number 3

Appoint your heart as a non-exec director

SMEs don’t always have boards to turn to, instead have a periodic check in with yourself, as you would an NED. Make sure you’re on the right path and doing the things you care about within your business.

Jamie’s Three Things:

Jamie Mitchell All Together’s co-founder and currently chairs Gaucho and Urban Legend, amongst others. He was previously MD of innocent drinks and CEO of both Daylesford and Tom Dixon. Jamie joined to panel to give this advice on ‘better businesses’, whether that is better for the planet, society or better bottom lines.

number 1

Energise your team with a clear statement of company purpose.

Clarify and define your purpose, working out what drives you and the team beyond making money. If you can,you will have a team that is more motivated to get up each day and employees who want to work for you.

number 2

Contribute to the world, don’t just mitigate your impact.

Make your business’ impact as large as possible. For example, if you want to tackle homelessness, don’t just donate money. Instead encourage staff to volunteer and employ homeless individuals within your business.

number 3

Sell your business to your employees.

When planning for your exit, consider setting up an employee ownership trust and sell it to your employees. It’s a lot easier than you think and will help engrain your legacy within the business.

Ian’s Three Things:

Ian has recently joined Recognise Bank as MD, Head of Commercial Banking. He previously held various roles at Barclays Bank UK for over 30 years. Ian joined the panel as a small business expert, taking experience from his 5 years as MD, head of SME relationships at Barclays.

number 1

Look at your business through a different lens.

If you were going to set up your business today, how would it differ to the business you currently run? Are there things you now want to change, or would do differently if you were setting up now?

number 2

How have your employees expectations changed?

Make changes to your business that meet new or different expectations, and really consider how you implement them for success. For example, staff may want hybrid working flexibility, but this means the office must be big enough to accommodate everyone being in midweek.

number 3

How have your customers expectations changed?

Are you still using the pandemic as an excuse for poor service? Some changes during the pandemic should be retained, whilst others need to be returned to meet customer expectations.

A short panel discussion followed the panel’s ‘three things’, where they discussed inflation, employee retention and diversity and inclusion in more detail. You can find a full recording of the panel here. Thank you to Ian and Moti for joining us at the event and for their fantastic advice for SMEs.