Transitioning your business from Start-Up to successful SME

Building your Start-Up was a risk, taking the leap of faith, getting your product or service to market, securing any funding, judging market demand. But despite the many trials and tribulations and all the insecurity you have faced, your knowledge has developed, your clients are growing and you are starting to make a profit.

It’s time to take your business to the next level, taking your team with you and adapt from Start-Up to SME.

It is not going to be without further stress and risk and with the change comes more uncertainty and less flexibility moving away from a Start-Up model. But the rewards can be extremely satisfying and watching your Start-Up develop into a prospering SME can provide so much inspiration.

In our 4-Part Series on SMEs, we review some of the key areas that SME businesses will need to consider on their journey to ensure they thrive with the best team.

Part 1: Building a Resilient and Effective Management Team

Part 2: Creating a Winning EVP

Part 3: How to Break the Geographical Barrier when Recruiting

Part 4: Is it Time to Replace Yourself?


“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford.

When a business starts to take off, most founders understand they can no longer achieve everything on their own. In the early days, being the finance person, the sales rep, the operations manager may have been possible, but once a business starts to expand you will need to share the responsibility in order to grow the company.


It is widely known that great team work can lead to success. Good team work can inspire personal growth and collaborative problem solving can lead to positive outcomes. It can improve job satisfaction, cultivate an inspiring working culture and reduce stress.


But how do you build a progressive and powerful management team?

If you have read our article on creating a successful team, you may see some similarities with this article. But here we have focused on the management team which will be your driving force in pioneering results, so we have concentrated on how to make that team as effective as it can be.


Here are King Recruit’s six steps to success.

  1. Know what type of leader you are

The most successful leaders look for ways to understand themselves better and adapt their leadership style in order to suit the needs of their team and business. Understanding what type of leader you are will be the foundation to your team succeeding. It will help you to be a better communicator. It can help you to identify skill gaps in your team and plug those gaps through recruitment. Being self-aware, encouraging strategic thinking, having a strong focus on developing your team, being a great listener and showing empathy, embracing change, handling failure in a positive way and leading by example will help to instil passion and confidence within your management team. It will also lay the ground work and provide a great example of how they in turn can manage and inspire their team.


  1. Communicate effectively

We live in a digital age and it can be tempting to communicate by email as a convenient source, but this can be an ineffective way to interact with your team on a regular basis. In order to build trust, respect and encourage positive working relationships, find an effective way to communicate with your team that works for everyone, and keep it regular. Businesses vary so no one size fits all, so try different methods. One to one meetings, team meetings, coffees, presentations, training, morning updates. Find a process that works for your team and encourage them to follow suite with their team.


Having a connection with your team is vital to establishing clear goals, building a good rapport, inspiring confidence and motivation. People want to be heard, understood and validated and a healthy working relationship can boost employee loyalty and retention as well as create a stable working environment.


  1. Manage as a coach not counsel

The most effective way for a team to learn is by allowing them to find the answer for themselves. You need to guide them and support them, but avoid being too direct. Using open-ended questions, praising specific tasks that have gone well, listening and empowering your team. Mentoring and coaching your team will enable them to develop the skills and traits they need to think on their feet, learn from any mistakes in a constructive way, build trusting and collaborative relationships with their peers and give them the confidence to work as a team and drive the business forward.


  1. Manage change with positivity

Being adaptable to change and embracing the curve can make or break a management team. Change has the potential to create anxiety and resistance, so by creating a culture that welcomes change it can lead to employee engagement and commitment. Explaining the ‘why’ and being transparent about the reasons for change are important in getting acceptance from your team. To get buy-in, include your team in the development, they will be more considerate and excited if they can contribute ideas and suggestions in making that change happen. Foster an environment where team feedback is valued and helps to drive positive change in the business. Remove resistance by rewarding the acceptance of change and empowering those people that contribute to the process.


  1. Give autonomy and avoid micro-managing

This can be tricky! If you have grown the business from the ground up, it can be hard to relinquish control. But, by giving your team autonomy it awards the space to encourage independent thinking and problem solving. It shows the team you have faith in their management and leadership skills and by allowing them to learn from any mistakes in a productive way, it helps to build a culture of trust. Giving them the tools they need to carry out their roles, supporting an innovative and creative environment can lead to improved employee engagement, job satisfaction and mean better results all-round.


  1. Invest in your team

Your management team form a crucial part of your company’s future, so invest your time in them, talk to them regularly, listen to them, learn about them, what are their motivators, what are their priorities, what do their individual goals look like, personally and career focused? Look at training and development, inspire your team to learn, read books, sign up for webinars, access articles, connect with new people that could help them on their journey, what internal or external courses might they be interested in that could develop their skills further and in turn help the business? Set up a regular meeting to talk about problems which help to stimulate ideas on solutions and the best ways to work together as the company grows.

Your management team will play a huge role in contributing to the company’s success or failure. They should be passionate about turning your vision and mission into a reality and creating strategic plans to get the business there. They will walk the path with you, supporting you in making some tough decisions, putting the hard work in to ensure the company flourishes, so nurture them, capitalise on their strengths and remember that it takes great leadership to build a great team.


About Us

If you are looking to structure your management team and create a strong culture – King Recruit helps businesses to expand by finding game-changing talent. With our partner-led approach and expertise in all aspects of talent strategy and hiring – across the South West.

King Recruit joined forces with James Caan CBE and award-winning investment firm Recruitment Entrepreneur in July 2021. Recruitment Entrepreneur is one of the most successful private equity investors in start-up to scale up recruitment businesses.

If you’d like to get in contact with our Founder and Managing Director, Helen Plumridge – you can contact Helen at helen@kingrecruit.com | 07808 537696