The ten characteristics of successful SMEs

Our research shows that business owners and leaders of SMEs are not fulfilling their aspirations for growth and performance. Some organisations outperform others, but why? It is this question that has driven our work!

What we know is that traditional models of SME development and growth that promise a ‘quick fix’ or ‘the ten steps to success’, rarely work. This is because they are prescriptive, take a “one size fits all” approach, and are based largely on personal experience. Typically, a consultant who has worked for a large firm believes they can apply what they know to smaller firms.

Whilst attractive, SMEs are not simply ‘little big businesses’, they are their own form of organisation and have their own unique nuances and challenges. This is where the BIG Ten™ is different. Our analytical framework works as a set of lenses into the world of an ambitious SME. Using the BIG Ten™, together we analyse what success means to you and your organisation. You choose where you would like to focus, and how you want to work.

As an introduction, the BIG Ten™ are:

The Enthusiast: doing things right and adding value
The Transformer: anticipating change and managing transition
The Strategist: defining and executing your vision and strategy
The Delegator: creating structures, sharing information and responsibility
The Innovator: generating ideas and continually innovating
The Integrator: collaborating and partnering with your value chain
The Calculator: making effective and informed decisions based on accurate data
The Systemiser: developing and maximising the capacity of systems
The Engager: involving, developing, motivating and rewarding others
The Sponge: seeking opportunities for learning and exploiting knowledge