KM Strategy for Small- & Medium-sized Businesses

Compared to large enterprises, small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB) lack the resources to implement large scale knowledge management projects. They rather focus on practical and simple solutions. In SMB an initiative to foster knowledge sharing should not require additional work and the KM strategy should focus on elements that are straight-forward and bring tangible benefit. On the other hand, small organisations have the advantage of less barriers and obstacles for this kind of initiatives. And with the right mindset of the leadership, the KM strategy can be quickly and successfully implemented.


Each strategy should start with the aspiration to achieve something great. Often, this might be called the vision. Here is my humble suggestion on how this “dream” could be formulated:

“In order to strengthen our business performance, we want to network our knowledge workers, which will lead to better decision making and enabling innovation”


For SMBs the knowledge management strategy should be simple and focus on the most important objectives. Based on my experience of KM in large and small enterprises I would suggest the following three pillars for a KM strategy:

Establishing a knowledge sharing culture. Even the best procedures and tools will not be successful if they are not matched with the corresponding behaviour of the people. Therefore, the awareness for KM and the right behaviour needs to be created on all levels within the company.

Embedding experience sharing in daily collaboration. Knowledge creation and sharing mostly happens in the daily operations when people collaborate. In SMBs, knowledge-related activities should not create additional work; therefore, simple small steps can be embedded in daily collaboration to ensure knowledge is transferred and people can learn from each other.

Creating a platform which allows people to network. Although the company is small, it is vital that experts can be easily identified and reached. And, each employee is an expert on some topics. The networking platform should allow people the share their ideas and expertise and then enable discussions. A recent McKinsey Quarterly article mentioned the benefits of ‘networked enterprise’ – The rise of the networked enterprise.


As a third element of the KM strategy is the question, how do we put the strategic pillars into action. Here I would like to propose a set of very simple measurements for each of the three suggested pillars. These measurements should represent some basic, efficient activities to reach high value; more is always possible in a later stage.

Establishing a knowledge sharing culture: