Pain points experienced by SMEs


As outlined in the article on architecting small enterprises, the opportunity exists to:

  • Establish stronger foundations through well-architected small enterprises that enable them to scale and respond to emerging opportunities more readily
  • Gain experience in cultivating and managing the organisational capability portfolio
  • Harness enterprise potential earlier in the life of an enterprise, at lower cost and with greater value being realised


This article is aimed at identifying:

  • Those points in the life of an enterprise where leaders experience pain arising from the difficulty of key “structural” decisions or from the legacy of failing to make appropriate “structural” decisions
  • The means by which they seek advice and support in resolving these difficulties
  • The search terms that they use in seeking to find appropriate advisory or assurance services


Based on our experience in managing growth:

  • from soletrader to small enterprise
  • through the stages of small to medium enterprises
  • new divisions being formed in larger enterprises

it is evident to us that pain points emerge in the following general circumstances:

  • responding to significant market changes, requiring a change in business or operating models
  • seeking to “find efficiencies” to enable products / services to be “more competitive”
  • restructuring the organisation
  • formalising support arrangements (eg. establishing a Business Manager, or a Chief Operating Officer, or a Corporate Services function)
  • moving from informal (undocumented) to more formal (documented) business processes
  • addressing the “manual processes” that surround “IT systems” or the siloes that “IT systems” seem to have become

In larger organisations, advice and support for transformation and change will be sought from:

  • Management consultants
  • IT consultants
  • Organisational development specialists
  • Organisational and business change specialists
  • Business transformation specialists

In smaller organisations, the advice may be sought from:

  • existing relationships with accounting firms or IT service providers
  • middle-tier consulting firms
  • sole-trading business advisors
  • government funded business advisory services
  • university operated business growth researchers and academics


In light of the above:

    • What other pain points have you observed?
    • What other sources of advice have small to medium enterprises used?
    • What means have these organisations used to provide appropriate advice and support?

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