I always get asked this question: “As a sole trader or solo business owner, how do I make the transition to SME?”. Some of the time, or most of the time, every small business owner, especially the solo business owner is always looking for an opportunity to grow bigger. As they grow bigger, they can’t help but become an SME; what we popularly call Small and Midsize Enterprise. Sometimes, we may think that this is an easy thing to do. Other times, we just don’t know how to do this.

In today’s blog, I’m going to share with you three tips to enable you to make this transition from being a solo business owner to SME easier; allowing you to avoid costly mistakes.

Photography by Jon Tyson


Make the most of your low hanging fruits. What are your low hanging fruits, I hear you ask? These are the business deals that are already available to you. Your existing customers, the connections that they will be referring to you any opportunities that are close enough around you.

These low hanging fruits do not require you to use too much resources in order to acquire them as customers. Remember – you are a solo business owner, which means that you do not have too much resources and money to spend.


Give and receive referrals. Giving and receiving referrals is the most effective way that you can scale your business in its early stages when you are still a solo business owner. It means that you are always looking for an opportunity to serve your customers better. You are showing that you care, but also, you don’t miss out on opportunities to ask for referrals. Ask for testimonials and whether they know someone who could benefit from your services.

I have seen many businesses who have grown quite substantially just by consistently serving their customers well, giving referrals to them, and also asking for referral business.


Grow with your existing clients. With this tip, you need a bit of strategy to it. As your business grows, you want to also look at the product and service roadmap. Always look for opportunities to assess the needs of your customers. Explore how you can refine the existing products/services or develop ones to meet the needs of your customers.

Your pricing strategy needs to grow with your clients too. Consider a price increase with new and better product/service introductions, while giving your loyal customers a great reason to upgrade to higher package products/services.


I couldn’t finish this juicy blog without a bonus tip! You may wake up one morning after using your own and the above tips and realize that you are no longer a solo business owner!

You know the business is doing well, but you have to make the next leap.

You have to scale.

You would recognize that it’s now time to scale. Now what?


I have come across a number of businesses, who would normally hesitate to scale, because it is a big, big task, they don’t know exactly what to do and they have always operated as a solo business owner.

Delegating and scaling the business is a big and exciting task so my bonus tip for you is make the leap of faith!

Learn, understand, and put in place the systems, the procedures and a great winning team.

Explore the sales conversation angles that will help win bigger deals with larger and corporate firms.

You might be looking at international and market expansion beyond your local or existing customer base.

Ensure that you are in that position to transition from small business owner to SME!

CONGRATULATIONS! You are now ready to scale from solo business owner to SME

Sometimes with all the will in the world, may still need additional support to make this transition easier and avoid some of those costly mistakes.

“84% of business leaders and entrepreneurs say that mentors and advisors help them avoid costly mistakes” – (HBR 2019).

When it comes to this time, do not hesitate to bring someone on board to help you scale the right way. Remember, it will help you avoid costly mistakes.

About the Author

Maggie Sarfo is a passionate author, speaker, advisor and mentor for inspirational people looking to explore new ways of being, leading and growing their business exponentially. She is CEO of Meres Consult Ltd and leads a business women’s network in the City of London for business growth and leadership development. Book Your Complimentary Growth Strategy Review.