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Not so much ‘Fat Cats’ as ‘Tired Cats’ by Guest Blogger Kirsty Davies-Chinnock

Posted on: Aug 12th

In a recent article by The Manufacturer it was shown that Manufacturing Business Owners worked 41% more hours than the average employee.


This owner dedication was praised with the caveat that a healthy work/life balance should be considered, and a side note that financial gain was being put ahead of free-time. For many SME owners, particularly in manufacturing, financial gain is a huge priority to not only stabilize cash-flow, but also to ensure healthy profits going forward for onward investment. Those of us who survived the last recession and who are now experiencing high-growth know exactly how expensive this is.

Returning to profitability after a recession is expensive. Increasing that profitability (whilst ensuring your staff are rewarded) is expensive and growing your business is very expensive. In an SME the owner-manager will have final responsibility for all of this and more, and will often visualize and implement the strategy to achieve these critical success factors.

As the MD of a manufacturing company who has grown year on year (apart from the 2008-2009 freefall) with 20% growth achieved in our last financial year, I am all too aware that the time needs to be put in at the top to ensure this happens. Complacency is no longer allowed in our business – something I admit I was guilty of in the easy days before the recession wiped 40% off our turnover overnight – and the pain from this is still fresh in my memory. Having come through this literally by blood, sweat and tears it is unsurprising that I and others are reluctant to throttle back on the hard work we are putting into our businesses.

As the pressures of the recession eased this naturally resulted in growth of the business, which in turn gives the business owner more to aim for; after all the growth should be sustained and increased going forward so we have a ‘buffer’ should the axe fall again.

Of course this hard work is emulated and often surpassed by loyal members of the team; and they are much more likely to go the extra mile when they see the ‘boss’ doing so too. With frequent ‘fat cat’ articles appearing in the media, it is refreshing to see the hard work of business owners acknowledged and long may this continue.

About Kirsty Davies-Chinnock

Kirsty is the Managing Director of Professional Polishing Services Ltd, the UK’s market leader in mechanical surface finishing.

She was named as a IoD Director of the Year for the West Midlands Region in May 2012 in the category of Family Business and was shortlisted for the National Awards, and also received a Manufacturing Achievement Award from Made in the Midlands, presented by Lord Digby Jones.

Kirsty is an Ambassador for the Inspiring Women Campaign SS2012 with the Pavilions in Birmingham and was also presented with The Attwood Award for services to Manufactruing in 2009.

Kirsty sits on the Technical and Marketing Committee of the British Stainless Steel Association, the Citizenship Committee of the Birmingham Civic Society (responsible for the Next Generation Awards for school children in Birmingham). She is also the Chair of the Women in Business Association. Kirsty also supports ‘Leading Ladies’ an initiative to raise funds for Birmingham Hippodrome.

She writes for various trade publications, including a regular column in Stainless Steel Industry Magazine, and is often a key note speaker at industry conferences. She is also an occasional media contributor both in Press and on Radio.

You can read all Kirsty’s blogs at: http://stainlessinstilettos.wordpress.com

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