Small and Middle-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are, by definition, companies with no more than 250 employees on board. These companies usually occupy a niche in their branch of industry, producing goods and services for their customers (Business-to-Customer, or B2C), for other businesses (Business-to-Business, or B2B), or public institutions (Business-to-Government, or B2G). Their main ambition is to become the leading provider of certain services or products in their geographical area or their niche of the market.
In this classification, we consider companies that do not offer consultancy services (there is a separate category for consultancy companies, see section 3: Consultancy Companies). For instance, a company that offers grant writing services, prepares and delivers professional workshops, or builds new commercial solutions for other companies and institutions, will be classified as a SME here (as it creates original content for the client).
On the contrary, a company that investigates a particular specialistic problem for their clients, make professional assessment, and gives predictions/recommendations based on the results, will be classified as a consultancy company (as it only offers consulting).
We also make a distinction between small companies and startups. The main difference between the two is the roadmap. Namely, a startup aims to grow and scale in the future. For instance, a new social platform that aims to become a global brand, and an alternative to Facebook in the future, is a scalable project. A small company is typically based on a non-scalable business model and aims to keep the status quo or to increase the team only when necessary.
For instance, if the company involves ten grant writers taking orders for writing public grants, the income of that company is not scalable—it is directly proportional to the number of man-hours spent on the projects. Of course, the company can still grow, e.g., by extending the number of team members if the number of orders from clients exceeds the maximal capacity of the current team. However, the company does not have the ambition to become an international corporation in the future.