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SMEs & Owner Managed Businesses

SMEs and owner managed businesses are a key part of the UK economy and a highly valued component of our own client base.

Weightmans understands the issues business owners face and recognises the particular needs of this sector for pragmatic advice that respects the separate, but often linked, needs of individual business owners and those of their businesses.

We appreciate that, for smaller businesses, cost control is essential and budget for legal spend may be limited. Our HR Rely teams are committed to providing technically excellent, jargon-free advice, within a framework of price certainty.

Extensive experience of supporting a broad SME and OMB client base has taught us that the owners and managers of smaller business often take on multiple operational roles, and rarely have enough hours in the day to get everything done. Our HR Rely team can lift some of this weight, either taking on key day to day HR tasks if your business does not have a designated HR function or acting as an indispensable source of support to your in-house HR specialists. Either way, we can save you time, allowing key personnel to focus on the strategic issues that matter.

We understand that building and running a smaller business involves taking managed risks, and that our SME/OMB clients have a range of attitudes to risk as diverse as their organisations. Our commercially focussed advice reflects this. Our HR Rely teams will seek to understand and respect your preferred approach to ‘people problems’ and work with you to achieve the best results for your business: We won’t slow you down by insisting on a ‘risk-averse’ approach every time.

Our team

Our team includes advisors who have a special interest and particular skill in advising SMEs and Owner Managed Businesses. We talk your language, have insight into common issues facing smaller businesses, and expertly tailor our advice to your particular circumstances and priorities. Our employment advisors can also call on the full breadth of Weightmans expertise in other useful areas (such as commercial or private client law) to provide a seamless service.

Our service

We deliver a high-quality personal service to your key personnel, ensuring we give practically focused, strategic advice. This can include advice on managing your public communications and any reputational issues, supporting you to resolve employee conflict, or making important changes to employee terms and conditions to support your productivity.

Your Client Relationship Owner (CRO) will ensure total continuity of service. They will work to understand your key strategic aims, and tailor our approach to meet your needs. Your CRO will focus on supporting your business to achieve your objectives within costs agreed with you.

Our HR Rely team is flexible, available and supports our clients to address their issues confidently and quickly. Our service is demand-led to meet significant peaks and troughs of activity.


We operate a dedicated HR helpline service to answer any day-to-day queries that arise. We find that the majority of issues fall with the scope of the retainer and that our early advice helps to mitigate against bigger issues down the line. Our advisers will provide a valuable HR perspective when personnel issues arise, or act as a ‘sounding-board’ to your in-house HR specialists, to confirm that your business is on the right track.

You can choose whether you want your key personnel to liaise with us every time, or whether you would prefer to free-up time by asking us to support other parts of your workforce directly. Either way, our advisors will be on the lookout for any recurring issues and provide upskilling tips to help you grow.

Employment tribunals

We know that, for a small business, even a single tribunal claim can be expensive, stressful, and put huge strain on working relationships. Whilst we work with you closely to avoid employment tribunal claims, they will inevitably, occasionally arise. You can be assured that, at the outset of each case, we review the claim and advise on the legal issues and the relevant evidence that needs to be collated, as well as identifying the witnesses. As early as is reasonably practicable, we provide an initial assessment of the merits and potential quantum of compensation as well as giving advice about other relevant factors such as potential reputational damage and employee relations issues.

Recent work for SME and OMB clients

The range of our work with smaller employers covers all aspects of employment relations and employment law advice. Recent examples include:

  • COVID Advice; Testing, vaccination, and handling health-related data.
  • Bringing employees back to work post-pandemic (including ‘reluctant returners’ and making reasonable adjustments for vulnerable staff)
  • Managing both short and long-term sickness absence and supporting SMEs to act when absence levels are no longer sustainable.
  • Managing difficult disciplinary issues and grievances; from advising on ‘fair process’ through to the most complex legal support.
  • Manging performance, and supporting SMEs to facilitate employee improvement, or exit.
  • Supporting SMEs to address recruitment challenges and to tackle problematic retention and attrition rates.
  • Redundancy and restructures
  • Immigration: helping SMEs navigate the new points-based system and sponsor requirements

Our three-tier menu offering enables you to choose the right support package that works for best for your business. Your CRO will be able to help guide you through the process.

Ingrid McGhee

Ingrid McGhee

  • +44 (0)141 404 9300

What our clients say

Mike Brooksbank Chief Executive, Blue Duck Education Limited
The changes we made last year, with considerable assistance from [Weightmans] have ensured a more stable, sustainable business. Our dealings with [Weightmans] are always highly professional and made easier by [their] calm advice, which always proved effective, protected our employees, and kept the business safe from exposure to potential third-party litigation. It is always a pleasure to have discussions with you; your friendly, sound, and persuasive advice makes us confident in the actions we take. BDE would happily commend Weightmans to anyone.
Colin McArthur Managing Director, Black Cat Deliveries Limited
Working under the guidance of Ingrid McGhee and her team at Weightmans has elevated our company to a far more professional business and their knowledge and advice has been invaluable to us.
McGill’s Bus Service Limited
I would have no hesitation in recommending Ingrid and the team at Weightmans - over the years they have provided first class, professional advice and support. Working with Weightmans is always straightforward. Their advice is always very well explained and laid out. Their meticulous and professional approach is why we engage with such a company and team!

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