How to Scale Up your SME and maintain excellent standards
Organizational excellence really is a feasible goal for scale-up SMEs. It’s created where people within a system are extremely good or outstanding at achieving their purpose – and that can happen at any stage of the business cycle, says Gary David Smith, CEO and Co-founder, Prism Solutions (www.prism.uk.com).
“It’s true that SME business owners will come up against fresh challenges as they transition from start-up to scale up. They move on from the initial trials of survival, the tribulations of encouraging investors and customers to buy into their vision.”
“But whatever the changes afoot, growth and development needn’t preclude a culture of excellence. At the core of organizational excellence lies a foundation of quality management that allows all levels of the organization to progress and continually improve.”
“Let’s take people for starters. It’s key to keep that team spirit alive and kicking as your business scales up, no matter what issues arise,” continues Smith. “It’s at this early growth stage that you start to get a clear idea of how different teams are performing and how you can better restructure rewards and benefits to enhance their buy in to your vision of excellence. It’s crucial to have team goals as well as individual targets to maintain a winning team mentality with a focus on development and quality.”
“We find that dovetailing weekly team meetings and reporting with individual assessment and coaching ensures we are all on the same page. For example, we have a points system that rewards our team for making the correct recommendations to the client rather than solely focussing on high-value transactions. This way, both staff and clients feel valued.”
“Even so, we maintain a healthy dialogue with our customers both in person and through digital media. We invite feedback, ask them to tell us how we’re doing and whether we’re giving them what they want from us,” says Smith.
“Keeping suppliers sweet is also important. Pay on time wherever possible. It’ll stand you in good stead in the long term as you build and maintain solid business relationships.”
“In today’s disposable culture, many people hop from supplier to supplier based purely on price. But the time and energy it takes to re-skill the supply chain with your values, goals and needs can be draining,” says Smith.
“On top of that, you can’t guarantee the results.
Everything from recruitment and training, through to development and reward, should have its system and you need to set up the best process for every transaction, both internal and external – or risk one developing on its that’s not to your liking.”
When it comes to your product, scale often lends itself to standardization but the by-word here is flexibility, staying supple enough to be able to reassess and evolve your product or service continually.
“If your business were a body, its systems and processes would be its skeleton holding all your muscles and organs securely in place where they can best carry out their functions. Nurture your business’s body, keep it fit for purpose, and you will excel,” says Smith.