Peter Boolkah.  Business coach, speaker and entrepreneur.

Member Article

How Furlough has helped business growth.

All good things must end as the saying goes, but quite how the UK workforce will fair as the furlough retention scheme draws to a close is anyones guess. There are fears from all sectors that redundancies will rise. However the companies that I have worked with used Furlough very much to their advantage and it allowed them to grow exponentially.

The aim of the Furlough was to protect jobs but keep workers at home during the pandemic. It was only meant to last 12 weeks but by mid July of 2021 the government had paid out £67.4bn. The Jobs Retention Scheme saw the state covering 80% of the wage bill for furloughed employees, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. 1.3 million employers took the opportunity and 11.6 million employees benefitted.

But savvy companies realised they could utilise this down time. Many CEO’s, including SME’s used Furlough to implement succession planing programmes or staff development. They were aided by the digital transformation that happened so quickly at the start of lockdown. Those business coaches and experts running succession planning programmes like myself, moved ourselves and our training completely online. We were able to collaborate with big names across the world to deliver top class programmes for our clients. CEO’s got their staff, sat at home taking part in online training programmes and webinars to grow their skillset. An example being a client who wanted high growth for his (type of business) business. Through a succession planning programme during lockdown they were able to free up the current management to move up to executive level. I looked to help them develop a proper hiring and development framework. They were able to fill the management roles, identify the talent gaps and close them. Without Furlough they may never have been able to do this.

Succession planning is really transitioning from one state to another. Put simply it is developing and upscaling a business. It can mean planning a business leadership transition or realising another level of management is needed for the business to grow and then implementing it. A business or company is only ever as strong as the people in it. Most employers know that spending time on their staffing structure and getting the right people in the right roles will take the business forward. Without that in place, the business will stagnate and move backwards. A past client used succession planning to take a step back from the day to day running of his business while growing it, with the ultimate aim of selling it. This, we did over a period of 8 years. His business went from a turnover of 50,000 per annum to 8 million by the time it was sold.

It is just as important for SME’s and even sole traders to consider succession planning as it is for the bigger companies. Sole traders should look to grow their business as soon as possible. There are roughly 5.5 million SME’s in the UK and around 4 million of them are sole traders. It’s important to take that job and turn it into a business. If a sole trader is ill or on holiday the business stops and that can be risky. A Sole trader needs to learn how to become a business owner. That’s where their transition starts. Start looking to hire people. Look at the gaps in your business, where it needs to grow and hire staff to help you even if that’s on a contractual basis.

It’s important to look at growth within all businesses. For sole traders succession planning starts with hiring staff, with SME’s it’s about plugging the talent gaps and with larger companies it’s looking at training existing staff to move up and creating another tier of management.

Peter Boolkah is a world-renowned business coach, speaker and entrepreneur who inspires and empowers you to create the business of your dreams, igniting real and lasting change for you and your business.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Lucy Hood .

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