Small firms are becoming more confident than ever, but do they have the skills that they need to take their success to the new level? A study by the Federation of Small Businesses found that a growing number of small enterprises were suffering from a skills gap, and believed that this was hampering their growth. Here, AGM Chelmsford review this study, and look at ways to protect your business from the skills gap.

"For a small business to grow and become successful, it needs to create brand awareness, have a fantastic product, and excellent people across all parts of the business", said the managing director of AGM Chelmsford. "Without this third factor the chances of succeeding are substantially reduced, but many companies are finding it hard to recruit people with the skills they need."

The study revealed good and bad news for small businesses in the United Kingdom today. As a result of the economic recovery, small businesses were feeling more confident about their future. The Small Business Index now stands at 39.7, well above the previous record figure of 35.7. Small businesses also report strong investment intentions, which will benefit the economy as a whole. On the downside, however, almost a third of respondents said that skills shortages were increasingly a barrier to growth.

The FSB has called for urgent action to tackle this shortage of skills in the workforce. They have called for a new government led initiative that will ensure that 'employability skills' are at the heart of education. The way we live and work has changed dramatically in the last decade, but the perception is that the education system has failed to recognise or keep pace with these changes. The study has also called for traineeships to be given more priority, and to stand as a real alternative to university education and traditional apprenticeships. Vocational education is currently seen as the poor relation of college and university based education, but the skills learnt can be vital to help our small businesses grow.

"High quality training is essential to avoid the damaging effects that a skills gap can cause", said the managing director. "Smart businesses will ensure that all new people undergo thorough training that's tailored to their individual businesses. We always make sure that all our ISA's are trained in all aspects of our business, before they are given extra responsibilities. In this way they become more confident, competent and efficient."

Once you have the skilled workforce your business needs, an innovative marketing campaign will help grow your brand awareness and reach new customers. AGM Chelmsford are experts in these areas, and will create bespoke solutions that achieve significant returns on investment.

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Victoria Smith
AGM Chelmsford
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