How SMEs can rediscover momentum and sustain good company culture

by | Sep 6, 2022

Ensuring the sustainability of small and medium sized companies during the leadership of the original owner is a difficult task, let alone beyond that.

According to enterprise academic and author John A Davis: “Companies in general have short lives. In the U.S. 50 per cent of all companies started today will be dead within five years, 25 per cent will last a decade, and only 16 per cent will survive a generation. Family-owned companies have been observed to live twice as long as non-family companies but still, not that long.”

In October 2021, Peter MacNamara of PMAC, pictured above, decided he needed to do something about his business. He felt that coming out of Covid both he and the company were stale. He decided to engage with Transform Your Business, a programme for the owners of small and medium-sized construction companies provided by SME Matters through the Construction Professionals Skillnet.

He shares his experience:

“We had stalled, lost our initiative and momentum. I needed to figure out a way to motivate me and the staff and find some guidance to get out of this rut. But I didn’t know what.

Transform Your Business gave me lots to think about and helped me identify definitive areas to work on. The programme helps you identify what is most relevant for you and your company and then gives you the tools and structure to implement the improvements. The three key areas that I focused on were Performance Management, KPIs and Marketing.

Now, seven months down the line, we have a total change in the PMAC team – some have left, some were promoted and some were brought in. People are more motivated and invigorated. There is a clear structure and clear accountability.

Before, everyone knew about a specific problem but no one took responsibility to resolve that problem. Now people know who is accountable for what and take on the responsibility of that. We are building a stronger team all the time. We have also changed our approach to marketing and this is the area we are currently working on.

The key benefit I got from the programme was a structured way to move out of the muddle and stagnation we were in. In hindsight, I would bring someone on the programme with me. There was a lot to take in and a lot more we could have done.

However, if I hadn’t done it I think we’d have struggled if there were shocks to the sector. But now, I am confident that not only would we survive but could possibly continue to grow in that situation.

The culture of the company has improved and this has been noticed by the Safe-T-Cert and ISO 9001-2015 auditors. Our staff see it as  a good place to work, with those putting the effort in being rewarded.

Transform Your Business is a course that provides you with a shopping shelf of actions which help improve your business. A lot of the leg work has been done for you. You have to identify your shortcomings, pick the solution and then implement it.

The work that has been done by the course providers before you start the course has been tried and proven to work. This allowed me to run my business while implementing the changes and improvements.”

Cleaning, conservation and concrete

Peter McNamara started working life in a cleaning company and worked his way up. At the time that part of the company was being sold off and he was offered the opportunity to move to a more senior position in the new company.

He declined and instead saw a niche in cleaning stone floors and at the age of 28 started working for himself. A year later he took on his first employees. PMAC now employs 38 staff and is based in Harold’s Cross, Dublin offering concrete polishing, masonry, façade and specialist cleaning and restoration and conservation expertise.

Clients include builders specified by conservation architects, city councils, property management companies as well as some residential.

Transform Your Business is a programme for the Owners of Small and Medium Sized construction companies provided by SME Matters through the Construction Professionals Skillnet. For further information contact Liz Carroll at 087 9323749, email [email protected] or visit www.cpskillnet.ie/training

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