Small Business Support Organizations
Local economic development agencies
and community business organizations

The situation

Small businesses are important to communities

Small businesses play a major role in community prosperity, resilience and quality of life.  As such they are an essential focus for local economic development.  The value of small businesses is also reflected in the number of community organizations that support small businesses and provide networking for their owners.

Changes are coming

At the same time, there is a growing wave of baby boomer small business owner retirements (a.k.a. the “Silver Tsunami”).  This will potentially have serious impacts on the value of small businesses, both to the community and to small business owners.

This wave of retirements is adding to the already accelerating change in economic circumstances due to globalization and automation.

The helpers

Local small consultancies, management coaches and professional service providers (which will be referred to as small consultancies), occupy an important position in supporting small businesses, both in the ongoing production of small business value and in small business succession planning.

The challenge

Small business succession planning is a process-intensive activity, in some ways more so than ongoing operations.
– In ongoing operations, people are used to applying their knowledge of how to perform the activities of the business.
– In succession planning, people need to step back, look at the overall business process, think about how to hand it off and improve it, and then make a plan to do that.

The challenge is that small business owners often do not have skills with formal process methods.
–  In normal operations small business owners have mastery of their businesses and strong communications with their staff to the extent that they simply do not need formal process skills.

Adding to this challenge is that small business consultants may also not have skills in these methods.
Reasons for this are that:
– Trained process experts are primarily focused on larger organizations and projects.
– Process methods as typically presented are often difficult to adopt.
– Local small consultants generally provide value through a combination of
    – subject matter expertise and industry knowledge,
    – general business management knowledge and techniques, and
    – commonsense problem-solving abilities.

Opportunity and Risk

Broader distribution of process methods skills  is important because:
In the face of accelerating change, skills in process methods can make the difference between struggling and thriving. 
– During successions these skills can make the difference between success and disappointment.

This has two implications:
– The broader of distribution of process skills among both small business owners and their consultants creates an opportunity for communities.
– At the same time the lack of distribution of these skills increases exposure to risk for both small owners and their communities.

Part of the solution  

ActionMap has a software tool that can distribute effective skills with process methods at the scale and speed that is needed to support the growing wave of change from globalization, automation AND Baby Boomer retirement.

Goal: broadly distribute process skills from ANY source to small businesses and their supporters  

ActionMap is building a network of consultants, local government economic development agencies and community business support organizations to distribute the benefits of increased process skills in the small business environment.

If you are interested in discussing why and how to increase the distribution of process skills in the small business environment, please connect with us via our contact page here, for a conversation.