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Driving improved business performance and relieving the pressure on SME business leaders

Senior-level, hands-on strategic and tactical support that removes the dependency on leaders for day-to-day business operations, processes and performance.

For Firestarter clients in the SME marketplace, we work with business owners and leaders where there is a large dependency upon them to do the sales, marketing, financial, operational and strategic work, whilst leading their team to drive business growth.

There is a lot of commonality in the profile of our clients in this space. Typically turning over between £1m and £5m, they know they need some assistance, which could be significant additional horsepower or simply a skill set that they realise they don’t have (or want) themselves and can’t afford to put in their business full-time.

High dependency on key individuals

Most of these people have built their business on “passion” and a specific set of skills but breaking through the glass ceiling of growth takes a different type of leadership which in most cases is too hard to deliver amongst the cut and thrust of the day-to-day goings-on! Commonly, there’s a lack of “clean lines” in the business, the sales process is ad-hoc, rhythm and rigour don’t exist and there is just not enough time to drive forward all the good ideas. They are usually run by one or two key individuals and there is ordinarily a very high dependency on these people, not just for sales, but for most things in the business.

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We help SME leaders improve their business performance

We apply our experience, tools and common principles through our deployable teams who have a single-minded focus on delivery to improve business performance. Our involvement tends to be more structured, really getting into the business, applying experience, and common principles (but also flexibility), that achieve two key things- formalisation of the sales engine, into a scalable, repeatable model and, critically, the removal of the dependency on key individuals.

Typically working with clients for 6-24 months, we ignite the fire to develop a scalable, repeatable business growth model.

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Twelve common problems we see SME business leaders face

While every SME business is different, and faces its own unique set of specific circumstances, we have identified the following twelve common problems for SME business leaders. Our interventions are designed to combat the specific challenges your business faces – so if you recognise any of the following statements, please get in touch to learn more about how we can help.


The business is stable, established but plateaued – it needs a leg up to the next level


Dependency on one or two key people is very high – there are limited routes available to delegate actions through


Selling always falls to the business leaders even though they would rather focus elsewhere


Sales efforts are ad-hoc, not systemised – other issues distract from any sales focus


Business process and analytics are not properly leveraged to drive growth decisions


Building an alternative “selling engine” in the business has been unsuccessful to date


New energy and focus is needed to drive growth but unlikely to come from within


The business could benefit from ‘big hitters’, but that’s too expensive


There are lots of good growth ideas, but no resource or expertise to test them properly


General organisational shape is stale, and not positioned for the future


There’s generally a lack of “clean lines” across the business – lots could be straightened up to create efficiencies


Ultimately the goal may be for the owner to ‘exit’, to sell the business, but it’s nowhere near happening and they’re becoming frustrated