4 Tips for Getting Ahead as an SME (and Avoiding Costly Mishaps or Errors)

When running an SME, it’s crucial to grow reasonably quickly. One of the risks with SMEs is that they’re staying forever small. Indeed, companies with fewer than 20 employers comprise 98 percent of total small businesses – millions are solopreneurs either by choice or because they never successfully expanded beyond toiling alone.

To put your best foot forward and avoid mishaps or errors, here are four tips for your small business.

1.      Get Professional Liability Insurance

While not every state requires a small business to take out professional liability insurance, it’s always a good idea that you do.

The idea with this type of insurance is to protect against so-called errors or omissions. This provides protection when offering a service or selling goods where the customer feels like they were caused financial harm and wishes to seek compensation for that.

Taking out professional liability insurance from The Hartford protects against these types of lawsuits (and the pursuit of them). This insurer has been in business since 1810, with Yale University being one of their first policyholders. Getting enough insurance can make the difference between a business mistake being a game-ender or just an inconvenience until the matter is resolved.

2.      Embrace Multi-Skilling

As a small business, there’s almost always a shortage of staff. When someone is off sick, it becomes challenging to manage, and usually, their work sits idle while they’re off.

Instead of having to accept this situation, it’s always better to ensure staff is trained well enough to cover at least one other role. Doing so allows a manager to move them across to the most important one, ensuring essential tasks are completed. While some less important tasks will inevitably not get completed during the absence period, it does mean fewer balls are dropped.

For this to work, all staff must have an available list of outstanding tasks and routines that they follow. This allows other workers to step into their role immediately, assess what’s critical to complete that day, and get moving.  

3.      Encourage Growth

Small companies often grow in fits and starts. Their growth path usually isn’t smooth, flat, and comfortable. Instead, after some early capital investment, they lurch forward with each new product release or service offering, delivering a new stream of income.

It’s necessary to plan for expansion one step at a time in a determined fashion. At the same time, putting the company on the line by using debt for a costly expansion is risky. Any funding must be handled judiciously to avoid the business running into difficulties before new cash flow is realized.

4.      Use Small to Your Advantage

Smaller businesses get noticed by offering better customer service and faster response times. Also, they look at what’s available in the marketplace and deliver something unique to stand out from their peers.

Huge businesses find it harder to innovate, change direction, and push forward. Use the advantage of being smaller and nimbler to be more creative with the product mix or services offered.

Getting ahead as an SME requires a continual drive to succeed that not everyone has. However, for business owners that are passionate about getting improving results, the hard work pays off.