Can You Make The Leap From Startup To SME?

Startup to SME, how do you grow your business? It really is an exciting time to be in a small business in the UK, the economy is on the up and according to Federation of Small Business at the start of 2014 SME’s accounted for 99% of private sector business in the UK, employed 15.2 million people and had a combined turnover of £1.6 billion.

Even the Chancellor is putting SME’s at the heart of UK Economic Growth, but how do you take your business to the next level? Aside from the obvious selling and finance, I think the following factors are critical to include in your growth strategy;

People – you need people to grow your business. As a startup business leader I’m sure you were probably involved in every hiring decision and you have probably grown predominantly though people you know or have been referred to. As you grow into an SME you need to make sure you know what you need to hire first and then ensure you measure this throughout your recruitment process to increase your hiring accuracy.

Culture – as a business leader, I imagine you have a vision but you need to articulate this to your team. You don’t want to be trying to define it 10 years down the line, if you don’t have it written down, then do it. Get your team involved, this shouldn’t be a top down activity but instead think about brand ambassadors throughout your company. Get your team involved and don’t just write the values on the wall or put the mission statement in the induction pack, think of initiatives to ensure you’re really living your values.

Innovation – always be thinking about the market and where you are going. The pace of change in the UK is phenomenal and you can’t afford to be left behind. You don’t want to do what you’ve always done, you want to hone your skills, spend time understanding that your clients want and need and then match that with your offering. Remember nothing stands still.

Process – this one might grate a little! As a startup I imagine you’ve been able to ‘wing it’ from time to time. However, as you grow into an SME it’s time to embed some processes and help your team to become more efficient. You may not get excited about the word process but you need to be able to deliver to your clients in a consistent way, whatever business you’re in. As an aside, if you come to sell your business one day, the buyers will want to know that you have a replicable and scalable business model.

Exciting times indeed. Just don’t forget it is also cited that 50% of startups won’t succeed – so make sure you’re not one of them!



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