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What Does a Growing SME Look Like?

What Does a Growing SME Look Like?
15 October 2015 John Moore

Growth ready and actual high growth SMEs tend to have a coherent strategy, resources aligned with the strategy and supportive infrastructures – at least they do in an ideal world.

The Reality of SME Growth

The reality for most SMEs aspiring to grow is one where the owners, managers and team members are over worked and stressed. Most have a weak cash flow with increasing working capital requirements. The majority find their resources and systems are stretched to the limit resulting in inefficiencies, mistakes and reduced productivity.



The new Fit4BusinessGrowth Erasmus+ European Project provides an alternative model of growth for SMEs. It is a model that provides SMEs with a sustainable, rigorous and robust model for growth. The model builds on the success of Exponential Training‘s High Growth Coach programme and integrates proven strategies and techniques know as High Performance Work Practices (HPWP). The Fit4BusinessGrowth Model also integrates Wellness in Business practices making sure teams are supported, engaged and motivated to deliver high performance.

The Fit4BusinessGrowth Model is built around three principles: coherent strategy; resource alignment; and aligned resources; and a supportive infrastructure.

A Coherent Strategy

Growth ready SMEs must have a clear, well communicated and understood strategy. They need to be crystal clear what they want to achieve and be able to develop and execute plans to achieve it.

Managers and leaders must be able to make and communicate decisions, provide direction and engage teams; they must be able to create, exploit and sustain the business’s competitive advantage in key areas and to accept that ‘good enough’ is ‘good enough’ in other areas of the business.

They need to know how to innovate and how to make fast and small mistakes from which they learn and implement continuous improvements. They need to be focused and able to plan, review and plan and review again and again looking for incremental gains and innovations.

Resource Alignment

Business growth requires energy, hard work and resources. However, all of the hard work and energy is not enough if business owners and managers do not know how to prioritise, allocate and to maximize the use of the organisation’s scare and valuable resources. They need to understand how to make sure decisions and resources are squarely aligned to the business strategy.

They need to be able to manage investment and expenditure strategically always making sure they understand how they make money. They need to know exactly how they would invest £10K, £20K, £50+K if it was available today. They need to find ways of making resources available to underpin growth and to make them go further.

Supportive Infrastructures

Ready to grow SMEs need to be organised, efficient, flexible and lean. They need to be able to align their resources and to implement systems and processes that support people to perform. They need to know how to release the potential of the organisation’s human capital.

They need to create agile processes and systems that support collaboration across the business. They need to engineer fast and effective decision-making. They need to appoint people with potential for growth; they need to nurture talent; and they need to support the development and acquisition of people with key ambition, determination and capabilities that match the organisation’s plans and aspirations.

They need to create a coherent culture with norms and expectations that reflect their drive for success and the strategic plan. They need to develop an ethos of excellence and continuous improvement which is supported by systems that reward and recognise individual and team performance. They need to recognise the value of people and ensure that they invest in and look after their health and welfare. They need to create a ‘wellness culture’ where people know they are valued.

This is the ambitious agenda set by the Fit4BusinessGrowth project partnership. Our aim is to develop and roll out the Fit4BusinessGrowth Model with the objective of improving the performance of potential and/or actual high growth SMEs. Initially, we will be working with a network of Fit4BusinessGrowth coaches to support entrepreneurs throughout the UK, France, Austria, Bulgaria and Croatia to develop and execute long-term sustainable growth plans. The Fit4BusinessGrowth Model is expected to be rolled out throughout Europe in 2017.

For further information about Fit4BusinessGrowth visit http://fit4businessgrowth.eu.

John Moore has over 20 years experience of training and developing Managers, Coaches, Consultants and businesses. As Managing Director of Exponential Training, John researches, speaks, blogs and writes about how to improve performance. He also designs and delivers engaging, fun and interactive learning programmes. John is a Fellow Chartered Manager and has worked with managers and organisations in over 20 different countries.


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