Elon Musk says, “Talent is extremely important. A team that has the best individual player often wins. But, then there is a multiplier impact when the players work together and follow a well-understood strategy.”
SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) are the lifeblood of the Indian economy – we have nearly 60 million of them. Their produce is consumed by large businesses and a very large number of consumers directly. Each of them is like a sports team which delivers great results when they have the right talent and they work together. India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies amongst the top 10. Hence, SMEs have great opportunities at hand to grow and do better than their counterparts. The real challenge is in putting things together and holding them together over a long time to deliver consistent results.
SMEs face several challenges on their path and often weaken their resolve and focus. Firstly, it is their limited ability to attract the right talent. Often, they do not have adequate knowledge about the talent market and hence, are unable to get their act right on talent strategy. They struggle to define the ideal profile they need, the rewards and benefits they must offer, the employer brand proposition they must have to make themselves attractive in the market. As a result, they do not have a clear plan to attract talent and eventually end up with an inadequate number of qualified applicants.
More often than not, they are caught in the chicken-and-egg conundrum and thus, unable to make a start. They need to buy the chicken which will lay eggs eventually and grow the business; they do not have the wherewithal to start with eggs and hatch them. Whether it is about finance, technology, know-how or people, they have to acquire some resources at a premium when they try to break into a new league or scale a new peak.
Taking the definitive step forward
Sometimes, the business owners and leaders are not sure which way to make progress. They often lose time and opportunities due to indecisiveness. The firmer the footing is, the faster is the impact and the greater the chances of making course corrections and progress. Toe in the water creates confusion and sends out signals to everyone around that one is not sure. Hence, it is important to think comprehensively and take a dip. Sometimes, we will make the wrong moves, but we have to quickly reconcile, retract and correct the course.
We have to buy talent from outside and get started quickly to seize upon the opportunities available.
Using the experts
Experts are not easily available for SMEs because they are often catering to the demands of large enterprises and other businesses which offer them a large volume of business. Hence, it is important to partner with an expert who has a track record and the interest to service the SME in point. So, it is important to partner with an expert who is good enough for us and very importantly, is keen on servicing us.
Secondly, many service providers bring their best consultants to the table for the initial discussions and impress us with their presentations. After they win our mandate, they bring us their junior-most people to deliver the actual solution. In this process, we do not get the best quality of services we would have expected. Hence, we have to understand how the service provider plans to deliver the solution, what milestones will be achieved and how the engagement will be governed.
Lastly, we have to check if the delivery methods are simple and quick enough for us. The costs have to be efficient for an SME with limited resources and profitability. If the costs are linked to specific milestones achieved, it is a win-win proposition. Hence, it is important to choose the experts wisely!
Talent is an extremely important success factor for SMEs to make progress and deliver superior results consistently. We have to get the Right Talent and get it Fast.