How to scale your SME with freelancers instead of investors

As firms look to re-launch projects and resuscitate their business beyond COVID-19, the importance and value of freelancers as a critical requirement to retain skill at an affordable rate is essential for recovery. Someone only too aware of the importance of this is CEO of The Future Strategy Club (The FSC), Justin Small; this is a benefit he has been aware of for a long time. His agency model is born from drawing on the talent of freelancers to establish a new, "members club" for growing UK SMEs to cherry pick the best talent for them. The FSC has around 300 Members, containing some of the highest-calibre business minds in the UK, including the former Digital Director at The Times and the former Head of Intelligence at the Royal Marines.

Features pitch from Justin Small: 

The past four months of lockdown in the UK have transformed the way firms do business at every level. Immediate changes to mass at-home working left many bewildered at a new way of remote working, and 29% of business leaders have already streamlined their teams as a result. Thousands of businesses have relinquished their expensive overheads, such as office spaces and permanent consultants.

Creating a Members club feel has been the key to attracting this level of talent to the business. We provide mentoring and coaching to our Members too, and are advocates for offering freelance and contracted workers with the same benefits as permanent workforce members. We have a small space in Peckham (South London) where we hold events. We did a lot of groundwork to build the brand. We aim to create the structures that enable freelancers to remain freelancers; we have a voice. We represent our community.

By using this freelancer model, we have been able to grow as a business without the need for investment. This provides a means to maintain our independence. Taking investment changes your decision making. The idea behind The FSC was to maintain the purpose of the business and to be able to say “no” to the work that we don’t want to do.

Similarly, using freelancers helps to maintain a competitive edge, delivering continually high-impact results for our clients. Freelancers are only as good as their last job. They are motivated to do their best.

For clients, the use of freelance work enables firms - no matter their size - to hand-pick the greatest team from The FSC's Members. We have named this model the "Hollywood Model"; as in Hollywood films, teams come together, work on projects and part their separate ways. This allows the finest talent to be used across multiple projects and offers clients the flexibility to choose the best fit for their business. At this turbulent time, the importance of having on-demand creative business talent will be crucial to propel firms forward and out of the pandemic. 

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