UK Industrial Strategy.. What Might It Mean For SMEs

A new Industrial Strategy from Government does not often get SME Leaders out of bed in the morning. But does the latest tome offer any guidance to businesses seeking to grow in the turbulent environment ahead?

Perhaps unusually, Tinderbox thinks this time it does signal directions that SMEs should be aware of and if necessary follow.

There is no argument with the main developments the Government is focussing on; Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, Mobility, a Cleaner environment and an Ageing Population. While not necessarily offering direct business opportunities for SMEs, each of these provides opportunities (e.g. increased customer intimacy, lower costs) and creates threats (e.g. disruptor competition, higher costs).

However, possibly of more interest are the less specific references to business performance improvements that should stimulate all companies to consider and, where relevant, take action

Stimulating Creativity

The Government recognises that in general UK Business lags in this area and appears eager to support Growth Hubs and other experimentation and evaluation projects. Tinderbox has long offered workshops and in house programmes on Step Change Growth, where Creativity plays a significant and essential role.

Big Data

We are all swamped by more data these days. Selecting data that is more effective in attracting and retaining customers is a theme of Tinderbox’s Sales workshop. It is salutary to know that some 20% of SMEs still contact their customers by fax, although perhaps it does not surprise us to know that the NHS is the world’s largest purchaser of fax machines. Adopting new technology and more focussed analysis (e.g. differences between addressing the younger and older parts of the population) features in the Disruption programme and workshop that Tinderbox offers.

Management Skills

It is estimated that about a quarter of the productivity gap between the UK and leading countries is due to a comparative lack of basic Management Skills. In all the assignments Tinderbox has carried out the transfer of specific skills to the client is a regular feature. In addition to this we have been developing a formal E-learning programme addressing a range of general management skills. This will be launched in early 2018 and will address the skills gaps referred to.

The latest Industrial Strategy therefore perhaps does include relevant points for SMEs. Tinderbox is always available to discuss these directly with clients to understand any pressing issues and develop proposals to address them.

If you want to hear more, get in touch with me at: or call me on 07423 059356.


David Beer

Tinderbox Partner

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