SMEs

There are many hurdles to scaling a successful company. Here's how the best in the business cleared them, and what you can learn from them.

How I cut my 80-hour week down to just 14 hours

How I cut my 80-hour week down to just 14 hours

"The constant vigilance became overwhelming. I was working to the bone," writes Alister Esam. Here's...

How I prepared to step back from my business

How I prepared to step back from my business

One minute briefing: Born Social founder Rob O’Donovan’s leadership transition was ‘beautifully boring’.

Intelligence report: How to scale a business

Intelligence report: How to scale a business

From prototyping to prospering, here is MT's expert step by step guide to growth

“Most start-ups don’t need investment – it’s a sick obsession”

“Most start-ups don’t need investment – it’s a sick obsession”

Shane Ryan is the founder of healthy ready-meal brand Fiid. He tells his fellow start-up...

Would you pay your staff more than yourself?

Would you pay your staff more than yourself?

Rachel MacLynn, founder of dating services firm The Vida Consultancy, sees it as an investment....

How to raise angel funding following a recession

How to raise angel funding following a recession

After two years of bootstrapping the business, Busuu’s CEO Bernhard Niesner raised angel money. Here’s...

Leadership clinic: Is this the right time for M&A?

Leadership clinic: Is this the right time for M&A?

Octopus Group co-founder and chief executive Simon Rogerson answers questions on starting up, scaling up...

How to build a business without burning out

How to build a business without burning out

Entrepreneurs are at risk of a ‘recovery paradox’, say researchers.

What every founder needs on their board

What every founder needs on their board

One minute briefing: So, you’re growing your company and want to shake up your board...

Don't baulk at hiring pregnant women

Don't baulk at hiring pregnant women

Vida Consultancy founder Rachel MacLynn says a few months of leave is a blink of...

6 ways to stay close to your customer

6 ways to stay close to your customer

It’s time for firms to switch from short-term survival tactics to serving their customers' post-pandemic...

Leadership clinic: My staff are refusing to come into the office

Leadership clinic: My staff are refusing to come into the office

Octopus Group co-founder and chief executive Simon Rogerson answers questions on starting up, scaling up...

6 simple steps to disaster proof your business

6 simple steps to disaster proof your business

How to scenario plan for the post-pandemic future.

British Business Bank: Stop panicking over inflation

British Business Bank: Stop panicking over inflation

“It also doesn't look like Britain is heading towards a recession,” says the Government-owned bank’s...

"I don't want to be the external face of the brand"

"I don't want to be the external face of the brand"

Management Today’s resident agony uncle, Octopus Group chief executive Simon Rogerson, offers advice on stepping...

6 tips for running a family business (without ruining Christmas)

6 tips for running a family business (without ruining Christmas)

Management Today asks family-led businesses how they work together successfully.

"Why I took my company public at an early stage"

"Why I took my company public at an early stage"

One minute briefing: The CEO of dynamic pricing platform Quicklizard, Pini Mandel, outlines the strategic...

"Women need to get better at asking for funding"

"Women need to get better at asking for funding"

Investor Lara Morgan says that start-up financing is a boys' game, but that doesn't mean...

5 ways to run your SME more efficiently

5 ways to run your SME more efficiently

When it comes to your most precious resource - time - less can be more....

Why crowdfunding is harder than you think

Why crowdfunding is harder than you think

And how to do it well: A short cat furniture case study.

How Presto Music nurtured its first-party data to drive sales

How Presto Music nurtured its first-party data to drive sales

The classical music store's strong interactive online community helped the business grow 25% year-on-year.

"Making a positive impact brings greater returns than the stock market"

"Making a positive impact brings greater returns than the stock market"

Tickr founder Tom McGillycuddy says targeting ethical and sustainable investments generated growth.

"Redundancies poisoned our culture - what should we do?"

"Redundancies poisoned our culture - what should we do?"

Management Today’s resident agony uncle, Octopus Group chief executive Simon Rogerson, offers advice for winning...

The start-up disrupting university textbooks

The start-up disrupting university textbooks

Management Today meets Perlego founder Gauthier Van Malderen.

How CEOs can improve sales

How CEOs can improve sales

“Hitting those sales targets no longer sits with sales teams, instead it should start and...

How iwoca became the UK’s fastest-growing fintech

How iwoca became the UK’s fastest-growing fintech

“It’s been the craziest time of my whole life,” says CEO Christoph Rieche.

How this dynamic pricing start-up surged during lockdown

How this dynamic pricing start-up surged during lockdown

AI firm Quicklizard’s CEO Pini Mandel pivoted to make the most of the acceleration of...

“Be persistent but not annoying”: How to get your products listed with big retailers

“Be persistent but not annoying”: How to get your products listed with big ...

Founder Andy Sutton got his luxury cat furniture start-up Catipilla stocked by Pets at Home...

This speech recognition tech knows when you're angry

This speech recognition tech knows when you're angry

AI firm Speechmatics has had one of the best years in its history, says "accidental"...

How Astrid & Miyu gave virtual sales a personal touch

How Astrid & Miyu gave virtual sales a personal touch

Shuttered shops inspired a waist-up approach to fashion, says the jewellery brand founder Connie Nam....

Beyond platforms: The next generation of digital business models

Beyond platforms: The next generation of digital business models

Interaction field companies solve bigger problems than conventional platform ecosystems.

How I pivoted to a direct-to-consumer model

How I pivoted to a direct-to-consumer model

As health consciousness increased because of Covid-19, so did the demand for kombucha. But with...

Recruitment hacks: How to find a diamond in the rough

Recruitment hacks: How to find a diamond in the rough

Management Today’s panel of leaders share their tips for finding non-obvious talent.

In conversation: Laura Tenison, founder of JoJo Maman Bébé

In conversation: Laura Tenison, founder of JoJo Maman Bébé

The entrepreneur launched her mother and baby brand in 1993 after a head-on car crash....

Founders: When should you step down?

Founders: When should you step down?

Our panel of founders on finding the right time to step aside and find a...

Q&A: "I need new funding but I'm worried it will distract me from the business"

Q&A: "I need new funding but I'm worried it will distract me from ...

Management Today’s resident agony uncle, Octopus Group chief executive Simon Rogerson, soothes another founder’s dilemma,...

Growth tips: Everyone needs to know where they fit

Growth tips: Everyone needs to know where they fit

One minute briefing: Railsbank head of people Claire Green’s former international rugby success has informed...

A quick guide to motivation

A quick guide to motivation

Do you start with relationships or results?

Leadership clinic: I'm struggling to delegate as the business grows

Leadership clinic: I'm struggling to delegate as the business grows

Octopus Group co-founder and chief executive Simon Rogerson answers questions on starting up, scaling up...

3 ways to retain customers when you're forced to shut up shop

3 ways to retain customers when you're forced to shut up shop

Non-alcoholic aperitif firm Æcorn needed to find ways of being relevant when physical availability was...

How "low code" is transforming software development

How "low code" is transforming software development

Business costs could plummet as point-and-click platforms become the norm.

There’s no point being a manager if you’re not there

There’s no point being a manager if you’re not there

The leader that made me: Railsbank’s head of people Claire Green on being sidelined by...

How Jo Malone created buzz without spending money on advertising

How Jo Malone created buzz without spending money on advertising

The perfume entrepreneur calls her marketing strategy "walking the dogs".

What you need to know about setting up a subsidiary business in the EU

What you need to know about setting up a subsidiary business in the ...

European business lawyer Steen Rosenfalck answers some frequently asked questions.

Why you don’t always want to hire ‘the best’

Why you don’t always want to hire ‘the best’

One minute briefing: Too many stars can make a dysfunctional constellation, says Cantab Capital Partners...

One way you’re giving feedback all wrong

One way you’re giving feedback all wrong

You know the old adage about having one mouth and two ears?

FAQ: Brexit vs employment law

FAQ: Brexit vs employment law

What the new free trade agreement means for employment rights, business trips to the EU...

The 5 key qualities of a great start-up leadership team

The 5 key qualities of a great start-up leadership team

A seasoned investor shares what seed funders want to see in founding management teams.

"Invest in packaging, not expensive TV adverts"

"Invest in packaging, not expensive TV adverts"

One minute briefing: David Milner grew Tyrrells crisps and Lily's Kitchen into household names. Here...

Xmas party plans from the C-suite

Xmas party plans from the C-suite

Management Today finds out how leaders are marking the season to be jolly.

How to give great customer service on a tight budget

How to give great customer service on a tight budget

A missed delivery reveals some important - and inexpensive - lessons on turning disaster into...

How to stop missed targets ruining morale

How to stop missed targets ruining morale

This year has shown that some things are just out of your control, says this...

How to spot a bad idea that looks like a good one

How to spot a bad idea that looks like a good one

Behind every flop was someone who thought they were onto a blockbuster.

How to position your business for acquisition

How to position your business for acquisition

One minute briefing: Scale-up CEO David Milner sold Tyrrells crisps and premium pet food brand...

“Starting a business is like walking on hot coals”

“Starting a business is like walking on hot coals”

Serial entrepreneur Norman Crowley believes both are dependent on being brave but not foolhardy.

How to host a virtual work Xmas party

How to host a virtual work Xmas party

It’s beginning to look at a lot like a video call Christmas.

How to think like your customers

How to think like your customers

Lockdown makes it harder to understand their motives, but there are ways of getting close...

What will the US election result mean for your business?

What will the US election result mean for your business?

As businesses navigate COVID-19 and Brexit, the incoming administration could provide some much needed certainty....

Why founder CEOs don't listen

Why founder CEOs don't listen

New research suggests that founders are more likely to ignore their management teams than other...

5 behaviours of top-class managers

5 behaviours of top-class managers

This is what you want your employees to say about you behind your back.

When it’s time to fire someone pronto

When it’s time to fire someone pronto

Letting that bad hire who doesn’t fit in or align with business values stick around...

The science of managing high performing teams

The science of managing high performing teams

Groups can achieve flow - an unfettered psychological state of creativity and productivity - if...

Want to improve employee engagement? Pay more (but not too much more)

Want to improve employee engagement? Pay more (but not too much more)

Financial wellbeing: "Money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a jet ski...

How can you prepare for a no-deal Brexit?

How can you prepare for a no-deal Brexit?

We asked leaders which contingency plans (if any) they have in place before the Brexit...

“Without the office you’re just a cog in the machine”

“Without the office you’re just a cog in the machine”

One minute briefing: WFH can take away the sense of belonging that holds everyone together,...

An entrepreneur's tip for getting tough

An entrepreneur's tip for getting tough

One minute briefing: Resilience involves more than enduring trauma. You need to look after yourself,...

How a quick 'thank you' improves company culture

How a quick 'thank you' improves company culture

Research shows gratitude journals help with team cohesion and wellbeing.

Remote working is actually good for creativity

Remote working is actually good for creativity

Productivity goes up too, but collaboration suffers, according to Management Today research.

Should you ditch the office for a WeWork?

Should you ditch the office for a WeWork?

Business leaders say no, so Management Today finds out why the office is here to...

The long-term consequences of working from home

The long-term consequences of working from home

Not having to commute generally leaves workers generally happier, but there’s a darker side to...

1 in 4 companies considering office exodus

1 in 4 companies considering office exodus

If people continue to work from home, expensive urban locations will start to lose their...

How to motivate people from a distance

How to motivate people from a distance

Recognising success in a remote or hybrid environment requires a little creativity, says Insight SVP...

How to make your team more accountable

How to make your team more accountable

‘Do as I do’ works a lot better than ‘do as I say’.

Coffee Republic founder: How to create a bootstrapping culture

Coffee Republic founder: How to create a bootstrapping culture

Workplace Evolution Podcast: Sahar Hashemi brought the American coffee shop concept to the UK. Here...

How to create an entrepreneurial culture in any business

How to create an entrepreneurial culture in any business

One minute briefing: Octopus Group’s CEO and co-founder Simon Rogerson on getting people comfortable with...

Sarah Willingham: I will never start another business again

Sarah Willingham: I will never start another business again

The entrepreneur and investor on top leadership skills, pivotal career moments and Dragons' Den.

How to keep your team motivated (home office version)

How to keep your team motivated (home office version)

Management is harder when you can't look someone in the eye.

“You literally have to rewrite your job description”

“You literally have to rewrite your job description”

One minute briefing: In hard times, your network becomes more important than ever, says Prezi...

Remote working forever? No thanks

Remote working forever? No thanks

EKM's CEO Antony Chesworth has had no problems working from home, but he has no...

Lockdown finance: Tips for talking to your bank & managing cash flow

Lockdown finance: Tips for talking to your bank & managing cash flow

Video: Funding Xchange's Katrin Herrling answers some common questions.

How to defuse conflict in your remote team

How to defuse conflict in your remote team

And five signs the atmosphere is turning toxic.

NextGen winners: The firms that will lead Britain's recovery

NextGen winners: The firms that will lead Britain's recovery

Agility, impact and vision define our next generation of great companies.

“We used to dance; now we march”: How M&As can kill culture

“We used to dance; now we march”: How M&As can kill culture

If you're not careful, you can destroy the very thing that made the acquisition valuable...

We’re systematically promoting the wrong people… and it’s got to stop

We’re systematically promoting the wrong people… and it’s got to stop

You can identify potential leaders through these five behaviours.

How to get your sales team to embrace data analytics

How to get your sales team to embrace data analytics

Buying shiny (and expensive) new tools won’t do much good if no one trusts them,...

Coronavirus: The damaging impact on SMEs

Coronavirus: The damaging impact on SMEs

A fifth of the UK's workforce could be off sick.

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

A CEO’s guide to smart decision-making

You spend enough time doing it, but have you ever thought about how you do...

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

What Tinder can teach you about recruitment

How to make sure top talent swipes right on your business.

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

Public failure can be the best thing that happens to you

But too often businesses stigmatise it, says investor Ewan Kirk.

Crash course: Management by walking around

Crash course: Management by walking around

Tom Peters made this bureaucracy-buster famous 40 years ago, but it's easier said than done....

How to hold on to top staff when promotion isn't an option

How to hold on to top staff when promotion isn't an option

Smaller, flatter firms can struggle to offer their rising stars senior roles, but that doesn't...

Crash course: How to find hidden talent

Crash course: How to find hidden talent

The best person for the role might be closer than you think.

Why you're terrible at recruitment (and can AI help?)

Why you're terrible at recruitment (and can AI help?)

The short version is you're full of biases and your hiring processes are badly designed....

Virgin StartUp's Linda Grant: "I reinvented myself as a non-exec"

Virgin StartUp's Linda Grant: "I reinvented myself as a non-exec"

After stepping down as the MD of Metro, Linda Grant wasn't ready to retire -...

Matchesfashion.com co-founder: "Leaders must rethink what's possible and deliver meaningful change"

Matchesfashion.com co-founder: "Leaders must rethink what's possible and deliver meaningful change"

Tom Chapman, co-founder of luxury retailer matchesfashion.com, is championing the next generation of high-growth, high-impact...

How to hold on to high performance teams

How to hold on to high performance teams

Talent rarely stays still.

How to win a price war

How to win a price war

Profit Isle podcast: When your competitor slashes prices, resist the temptation to match them, says...

"We lock up our customers and take their phones"

"We lock up our customers and take their phones"

Secret Cinema CEO Max Alexander explains the marketing challenges of the immersive film business.

"It's not porn" - sex video entrepreneur Cindy Gallop

"It's not porn" - sex video entrepreneur Cindy Gallop

The ex-advertising big shot is trying to create an entirely new business category, social sex....

"Our annual sales forecast went up 250 per cent in a week"

"Our annual sales forecast went up 250 per cent in a week"

A case study in cracking China.

"Entrepreneurship forces you to confront your weaknesses"

"Entrepreneurship forces you to confront your weaknesses"

Takumi CEO Adam Williams learnt a lot about himself when he left Spotify to found...

"Business is not a war, so stop treating it like one"

"Business is not a war, so stop treating it like one"

Leon co-founder John Vincent on how an ancient Chinese martial art transformed its corporate culture....

The big company where everyone knows each other

The big company where everyone knows each other

Advanced materials firm Gore has kept innovating and kept growing for 60 years - here's...

"It was the first innovation the category had seen in years"

"It was the first innovation the category had seen in years"

Case study: How circular kitchen towel start-up ORA challenged the might of Plenty.

How universities can help your business innovate

How universities can help your business innovate

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships allow even small companies to have moonshots, says law firm CEO Ed...

When to trust your gut

When to trust your gut

Great leaders often cite intuition as a major contributor to their success. Here's how to...

Why this FTSE 250 CEO has forgone his salary

Why this FTSE 250 CEO has forgone his salary

Avast boss Ondrej Vlcek joined the company as an intern. Now as CEO, he's only...

"I'd lie awake, thinking we were going to lose the whole thing"

"I'd lie awake, thinking we were going to lose the whole thing"

Breaking ground on Insights Group's new HQ would have been an exciting moment, were it...

How to lead well under pressure

How to lead well under pressure

Four tips for keeping a cool head when the heat is on.

What entrepreneurs are reading

What entrepreneurs are reading

Three founders reveal what's on their bookshelves and how the ideas inside shaped their business....

Sometimes the best business decision you can make is to step away

Sometimes the best business decision you can make is to step away

You can only compromise for so long, says Bombay Bicycle Club founder Sarah Willingham.

10 top business podcasts

10 top business podcasts

Love learning, hate reading? Listen on.

3 reasons we get succession wrong

3 reasons we get succession wrong

Family businesses face a set of challenges others don't, says board advisor Anna Zanardi Cappon....

Great customer experience sometimes requires breaking the rules

Great customer experience sometimes requires breaking the rules

Computer-says-no service can drive buyers away. Let staff use their initiative, says John Sills.

Making 'non-essential' staff redundant is toxic to long-term success

Making 'non-essential' staff redundant is toxic to long-term success

Great leaders treat employees as stakeholders, not a line on a P&L, argues small business...

Read like a CEO: Anne Boden, Starling Bank

Read like a CEO: Anne Boden, Starling Bank

The founder of one of the UK's top challenger banks says books provide a constant...

The talent pools you're probably missing out on

The talent pools you're probably missing out on

There are plenty of tools and organisations helping companies recruit more diversely.

4 business lessons I learned the hard way

4 business lessons I learned the hard way

Charlie Mullins has had his fair share of hard knocks during 40 years as Pimlico...

These small changes can transform your customer experience

These small changes can transform your customer experience

It's surprisingly simple to give great service, says AmazeRealise customer experience officer Chris Barnes.

Short on tech talent? These new visas could help

Short on tech talent? These new visas could help

The government has revamped its visa programme to keep the door open for tech talent...

"If you bribe one traffic warden, local politician or gangster you're lost"

"If you bribe one traffic warden, local politician or gangster you're lost"

Fox Marble CEO Chris Gilbert shares his tips for British businesses looking for opportunities in...

How Premier Oil survived the oil price collapse, haggling bankers and a botched investment to return to growth

How Premier Oil survived the oil price collapse, haggling bankers and a botched ...

CEO Tony Durrant: "We hadn't stopped thinking that we could grow our way out of...

The British marble start-up cracking Kosovo

The British marble start-up cracking Kosovo

AIM-listed SME Fox Marble believes quarries in the former Yugoslav nation represent a significant opportunity....

How a leader's role changes as the company grows

How a leader's role changes as the company grows

Running a business with 10 people doesn't automatically qualify you to run one employing 1,000,...

Do start-up accelerators work?

Do start-up accelerators work?

Take a look inside the Manchester hub of the UK's largest programme, NatWest Enterprise Accelerator....

Scale still matters: How big companies can compete in the 21st century

Scale still matters: How big companies can compete in the 21st century

It's a myth that only start-ups are capable of game-changing innovation, says author Scott Snyder....

The slow death of the plc

The slow death of the plc

Growing businesses are increasingly turning their backs on the public markets.

"I am the culture" - Tony Pidgley's lessons growing a small business to the FTSE 100

"I am the culture" - Tony Pidgley's lessons growing a small business to ...

The founder and chairman of FTSE 100 housebuilder Berkeley Group on the challenge of keeping...

How to sell when you're not a salesperson

How to sell when you're not a salesperson

CFO James Brazier's new role at Billion Dollar Boy involved sales. How hard could that...

"Forget marketing or keeping investors happy. A CEO's most important job is hiring the right people"

"Forget marketing or keeping investors happy. A CEO's most important job is hiring ...

Briefing: Former LOVEFilM and Mothercare CEO Simon Calver.

Why you should stop focusing on your customers

Why you should stop focusing on your customers

The customer is not king, says Zen Internet CEO Paul Stobart.

"After 6 months in the office we had no deals. I had to decide to stick to our plan or retreat."

"After 6 months in the office we had no deals. I had to ...

How do you know when to cut your losses on a major investment? Make sure...

3 assumptions to avoid when opening a new office

3 assumptions to avoid when opening a new office

Foreign markets may not be as different as you assume, says Moneypenny CEO Ed Reeves....

The art of keeping it simple

The art of keeping it simple

You don't have to be a genius to run a fast-growth business, says Pharmacy2U CEO...

"I stood for four hours by the toilet on the plane to Delhi. Someone had to have a contact."

"I stood for four hours by the toilet on the plane to Delhi. ...

Debbie Williamson needed to meet hundreds of artisanal suppliers for her furniture business Swoon, but...

Why are businesses unprepared for Making Tax Digital?

Why are businesses unprepared for Making Tax Digital?

HMRC's flagship tax scheme comes into force on 1 April, yet one fifth of businesses...

Should you promote on experience or potential?

Should you promote on experience or potential?

Wowcher's Roland Bryan thinks time served is overrated.

Employee ownership in the City: Why finnCap gave staff 95 per cent of the business

Employee ownership in the City: Why finnCap gave staff 95 per cent of ...

CEO Sam Smith says that if you want to motivate people, give them skin in...

How this CEO used language to get rid of a blame culture

How this CEO used language to get rid of a blame culture

Ella's Kitchen boss Mark Cuddigan says that your choice of words can have a dramatic...

How to hire outside your expertise

How to hire outside your expertise

Recruiting for new roles is doubly tricky when they're so technical that you don't actually...

Why mergers fail - and what you can do about it

Why mergers fail - and what you can do about it

Wavemaker chair Alastair Aird shares what he learned overseeing a merger involving 8,500 people.

Why MediaCom stopped using CVs

Why MediaCom stopped using CVs

CEO Josh Krichefski on what the agency has done to boost diversity and eliminate privilege...