Scalability challenges on Small enterprises

avatar of @daniasi
4 min read


Been in business for a while though still in the phase of small and medium scale enterprise, I must say scalability can be a huge challenge. Every business seeks to expand yet the next to follow is the question, how do you handle business expansion?.There are so many areas that can be discussed on scalability challenges in SMEs but I want to focus on workload. How can one be efficient and effective under increased workload. You know this can bite back and lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Everyday we learn, and knowledge is necessary to improve us. I have been facing the scalability challenge for a while now and I must say, it's hectic but what must I do? To emerge a top notch entrepreneur I have to master it all. It is better I solve it at an early stage rather than let it get to my neck. The key feature of an entrepreneur is to identify problems and also solve them. One of the things I dislike when running a business is customer complaints and when it piles up too much within a short period of time then a lot has extremely gone wrong. Traced the complaints recently and found out I have to solve this scalability challenge or I may lose customers' confidence and trust for my businesses.

Limited Resource Challenge

As a Small and medium enterprise, I must say I have fewer resources in terms of manpower, infrastructure, and finances. When faced with increased demand, it has a high chance of showcasing the lack of capacity to immediately scale up operations to meet the high workload. Should I increase manpower or add more equipment? It's a tactical decision, one thing I look at is how long this sudden workload will last. Increasing workforce chops into the business wallet, so also does buying more machines.

With the high cost of producing and delivering services currently, entrepreneurs in general aside from me have sided to numerous means to cut costs to meet up with employees salary in case the monthly revenue is below the minimum expectation. Though I am a lover of machines, I would side with adding more of it. Aside from making work easier, it helps promote business and gives quality in service and products. Machines are expensive, with dollars continually biting in, what more should I do?

Capacity Constraints

Running a business at maximum capacity daily can be challenging. It's more like you reaching your elastic limit on a daily basis. Probably you might have heard of the hooke's law, from this point, further movement leads to yield and breaking point. Sudden increases in workload can strain SMEs' existing systems, processes, and workforce beyond their capabilities, leading to inefficiencies or bottlenecks. I do get these complaints too from fellow entrepreneurs with suggested solutions of hiring contract workers to cope at such demanding times.

The challenge of hired workers is that they always pose themselves to be more professional than employed staff and want to get a high pay in a short period of time. When employees see external workers paid more than they do, it also leads to poor working effort as they feel they are not valued. I must say, running a business is no child's play, having to make everybody see from your own point of view is a difficult task.

Limited Expertise

Scalability challenge I have seen also hangs in SMEs lacking enough specialized expertise or a diverse skill set within their workforce. We all know what professional hands could do when faced with a sudden surge in demand or workload. The lack of such triggers a struggle to adapt. Even big companies are faced with the challenge of overcrowded professionals, they know how much it amounts to. Come to look at Small enterprise, as their name implies 'professional' you must be ready for professional pay. So what happens when there is a drop in customer demand? A lot must always be put into consideration as a gradually growing business, trying to hype too early can lead to high financial challenges.

Little or no Scalable Systems

Staying up to date as Small businesses can be challenging, promoting incurred scalability problems. Most times, SMEs might rely on manual or outdated systems that aren't easily scalable. Such machines in conditions of increased workload struggle to handle the increased volume efficiently, resulting in slower processes and decreased productivity. Investing in innovation I must say is capital intensive. I know one might think, you could buy this high priced equipment and also increase the prices of products and services to meet up but it's beyond that. One thing is you opting for these machines at such a time and another is the customers complying to pay for the products or services at your newly introduced price.

As an entrepreneur, I always feel price must be petted. Don't know if you get what I am trying to say? Price should be increased but should be done gradually over time, not immediate and not too frequent. Here is where the scalability challenge may always continue to hunt the SMEs'.


SMEs often lack flexible ways to go through business challenges which also affects its scalability level. Being rigid in business operation structures or being ignorant and showing resistance to change can hinder the adaptability of small businesses. Due to the persisting inflexibility, it makes it difficult to quickly adjust processes, allocate resources effectively, or adopt new technologies to accommodate increased workloads. SME's mostly don't invest in training and programs that boost business operations which would have been of help in challenging times. Also, the lack of an extended business panel to sit down and dissect ideas makes a singular decision especially by the entrepreneur to prevail which can sometimes be damaging.

To conclude let me add, there is a need to tackle workload scalability challenges as a Small and medium enterprise. A lot depends on it I must say, it can either help expand the business or shrink it when customers feel dissatisfied in such times perceiving incompetence from such business premises. There is a need to expand business, though I must say, one needs to be careful also, some workloads are short lived. You never can tell the factor behind a sudden market surge. Do well to make educated, prepared and calculated decisions before venturing into expansion. Am I saying you should stay small? Ofcourse not, you need to break out from SME to a big business, this is what makes you an ultimate entrepreneur.

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