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PROBE for Small Business Excellence


Being a small business doesn’t mean you have small ambitions

Running a small business isn’t easy. You have all of the demands of a bigger business without their resources. When you start out you have to compete with more established businesses who already have customers and when you become more established you have to fight off a host of new hungry start ups all wanting your customers. Competition is fierce and it can be a constant battle to stay afloat. For many, the hardest thing about running a small business is being overwhelmed by the day-to-day activities and not being able to think about direction and strategy.

PROBE for Small Business Excellence offers the benefits of PROBE best practice benchmarking in a format that is better suited to the perspectives and priorities of many small business* owners, managers and employees. The language and style are uncomplicated and jargon‐busting, helping to make potentially complex subjects more accessible and engaging. This PROBE module is ideal for organisations and teams who appreciate a straight‐talking approach.

     *PROBE would define a ‘small business’ as one that employs up to approximately 50 people.

A business is a business… but a small business is both the same as larger businesses and yet different from them. It has some advantages, some limitations, some differentiating features, some additional challenges, some exciting possibilities, some recurring frustrations… Every small business is unique, but there are some common characteristics that tend to set small businesses apart.

PROBE for Small Business Excellence covers all of the areas of practice and performance that are covered by the core PROBE module, while speaking the language of the smaller business and emphasising aspects of business practice that are particular to the small business context.

Some small businesses will find this module of PROBE works best for them, others may relate better to other modules – that’s ok, business owners and their advisers are best-placed to judge what will work best for their clients and their contexts. Small businesses that are also manufacturers will find much in this module that is relevant to them and tests many aspects of their business, including many aspects of their manufacturing-focused processes; they and their advisers also have the option of experiencing the deeper manufacturing-specific challenges posed by PROBE for Manufacturing Excellence, which they can see either as an alternative to PROBE for Small Business Excellence, or perhaps as a ‘next step’.


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