Five Things I Learnt From Working With SME

power2sme-display-picI joined a Start Up SME company on 3rd of January 2014, and this SME was established in Oct 20
13, so it was only two months old. I joined as the acting manager of the company, but the main position was a project coordinator. And as MBA holder, I started working in the company as an organization developer, established the finance procedures, HR procedures and daily procedures in operation management.

From the last two years and Half, I have come into the following conclusion:

1- Start up with less Over Head in the first year.

Sometimes the company start up on a guaranteed project, so there will be a cash in flow, but it will be very limited. And most of the time, the company start with no project, it starts with an idea, and then push this idea to clients, and in this case, there is no cash in flow. So the best practices in such a case is to reduce the overhead.

Reducing the Overhead can be achieved by not getting computers in the first period of the company, let the employee bring his own laptop, I brought my laptop for one and a half year until I felt that it is possible to get a decent one by the company. For every employee the company hire, a desk should be procured not before. The justification is that maybe the company bought few desks and then it didn’t hire, so that is a waste investment.

2- SOP.s makes it complicated.

A start up company requires a lot of fast decisions by limited number of employees, and Standard Operation Procedures can make things more complicated and requires a lot of steps that are necessary, but not in the start up phase.

Waiting to work for at least one year, and then have a look at the practices that the company is already doing, setting with the employees and seeing how the things are being done, then build a flexible SOP.s that is tailored as per the practices, and can make procedures flow very smooth.

3- Having recruiting plan before the start up.

Yes ! Set a recruiting plan, a timeline and a budget to it, you can’t understand what I mean ? Okay note this down:

  • My company will have in total X number of employees in the startup phase, then I will add X employees every year until I reach X number of employees in total.
  • My first year budget for employees is $X second year $X and third year ix $X

This will prevent you from hiring more people that you need, and maybe you will not be able to pay them their salaries from the company income, therefore, having a good recruiting plan will safe a lot of unneeded cost (for the time being), until you reach the point that you see that you are able to cover new employees.

4- Get a Joker.

joker-playing-card-3252682Even though having a joke teller in the company will reduce the pressure and add some atmosphere to the it, but this is not what i mean, A joker is a person who can fit in any position, has the ability to learn fast, and already has a lot of skills such as IT skills, writing skills, speaking and presenting skills, accounting skills and any soft skill you can think about.

This Joker will be able to get the best and cheapest solutions for the company, for example: setting a free share folder system like Dropbox, and using it in the best way, having internal documenting system, fixing a plug, running a machine, interviewing people, meeting with client, thinking about the future, able to handle many thing at the same time, and this will cut cost of hiring other employees (temporary, at least for the first year). So whenever you feel that you have a shortage in a position, you can trust that this joker can fill the position (at least cover 80% of the position requirements) .

5- When it grows, you grow.

This point is directed to the employees who are afraid of being in a start up company, or they are already employees there, but feeling nervous about their future. You are between few employees, I believe a start up company can has its founder, one admin, and two other specialized employees, and according to the nature of the company, maybe few labors or personnel. So imagine you stay in it for five years, and the company has after five years 20 employees, believe me if you started as the only admin, you will be the head of admin department. If you started as an accountant, you will be head of finance and accounting department. You are noticeable, any achievement in the start up phase is under your only name,  and you are the only one in that position who is by default qualified to be promoted. And as one of the shareholders in the SME I work at always says to the employees “Hang in there”, I tell you employee fellow , “hang in there for two years, didn’t see any improvement in the horizon, look for another job”.


Good luck for any entrepreneur who got the courage to leave his fixed job and start up a new company, deliver a new idea and give a good motivation to other fixed job employees who are thinking of opening new companies.