From reactive to proactive management

A proactive management style helps SME owners save costs, mitigate risks and promote innovation and agility. Greater efficiency and resilience also go hand-in-hand with such an approach. As the world’s economy begins to adjust to the impact of the past few months, these qualities are increasingly important for recovery.

Take control

Standards enable small companies to continually improve fundamentals and become more proactive. For example, BS 13500 provides a code of practice for business governance, letting SME owners run their companies optimally and instil a practical mindset across the company. The standard helps define direction and purpose for managers and staff by offering a framework of continuous assessment and development.

In addition, business owners can use ISO 9001 to create their own quality management system (QMS) to enhance operations across all areas. The standard helps SMEs increase workplace efficiency, win new business and satisfy more customers. ISO 9001 also introduces a system of proactive measurement and ongoing systemic improvement.

Both standards support small companies in building reliable decision-making frameworks that empower employees to respond efficiently to the unexpected. This is at the heart of moving to a more proactive operational model.

Protect your operations

The threat of disruption from unexpected events has been dramatically highlighted this year. Becoming more proactive significantly improves your ability to protect your business and your staff.

Standards help SMEs develop individual protective frameworks to address risk. This is particularly relevant for areas like health and safety (ISO 45001) and information security (ISO 27001) which bring significant legislative requirements, as well the potential for reputational damage.

There are also specific risk management standards available, such as ISO 31000, which provides guidelines for structured threat analysis and assessment. ISO 22301, meanwhile, helps you keep your business running by highlighting key risks and ensuring you are positioned to recover from disruption.

Walk the walk

Finally, adopting a more proactive attitude to management also allows small businesses to take forward-thinking action on social challenges, and truly ‘walk the walk’ when it comes to their stated brand values.

Standards can support SMEs here too. For example, ISO 26000 provides guidance on social responsibility and BS 76000 will ensure your staff feel valued and can get the most out of their working life.

The upcoming BS ISO 30415 will focus on workforce diversity and inclusion so businesses can better reflect the values of their teams, while ISO 14001 provides a framework for SMEs to respond to the challenge of climate change.

A standards-based approach can be the foundation of proactive SME management, especially during difficult economic times. It helps free business owners from purely reactive behaviour, instilling the confidence necessary to take timely control of their circumstances.