OEA Blog
03 Jun 2016

Scaling up your SME: From Small, to Medium, to Large!

We all know how difficult it is to grow an enterprise from one level to another. Especially SMEs! We spend time, money, sweat and tears to build the company – step by painstaking step, investing in the best processes and ensuring that our customer has the best experience possible, at the right price.

Up to a point, the business picks up and runs well. And then you want to jump your turnover to the next level.

Suddenly, you find...
...it’s tough to keep existing customers, leave alone trying to add to their numbers!
...it’s tough to maintain profit margins, leave alone trying to increase profits!
...it’s tough to retain good people, leave alone trying to attract further talent!
...it’s tough to manage existing debt, leave alone trying to get fresh funding!

So how do we cross these hurdles to growth?

Networking through events and expos like this will help, no doubt. But we need to do more.

We need to build our Brand.

That’s all very well. But how does a Small or Medium size company like yours or mine “build brand”? On tight budgets!

While large companies can build brands overnight with blitzkrieg advertising on TV, websites, and newspapers, Small and Medium sized companies can’t afford that.

But we can build our brands, albeit in our own ways. For SMEs, brand building is a step-by-step, continuous, careful, calibrated and budget-conscious process.

You know your product, your service, and your processes. You know that you maximise the value you provide to your customer. But how do you reach out to more and newer audiences with this message?

Through consistent, calibrated, continuous communication to carefully chosen target audiences.

Build a consistent persona. Something easily recognisable and memorable. Maintain relationships. Keep in touch with customers, prospects, staff, and the community. Ensure that every stakeholder is kept informed – that they feel invested in your success.

Reach out. Choose media based on what you know of your audience, and your budget. The more the better – but remember to maintain consistency across all of them!

Plan of Action

  1. Assign an in-house team to work, with your agency, on identifying what needs to be communicated. Without a dedicated in-house team, branding can still be done – but this way is a little more efficient!

  2. Take the help of an experienced but cost-effective agency to set in motion a brand-building exercise.

  3. Make brand-building a continuous process. Provide an affordable monthly budget for it. Because consistency is key.

  4. Reach out 360 degrees:
    • Unique Selling Propositions to be defined and promoted
    • Social media to be leveraged
    • Testimonials to be showcased
    • Case studies to be created for use in prospecting
    • Websites to be modernised and updated regularly
    • eMailers to be created and distributed regularly with news and product info
    • Brochures to be used in the field for sales or to introduce your company
    • Newsletters to be distributed to staff and customers
    • Advertising and events to be planned based on budget and audience

And voila! Your brand gets noticed, and you have overcome at least some of your challenges to scaling up!

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