There’s a growing idea in the business world that as we plough on into the 21st century, it is the small to medium-sized companies that will make the big differences - not the multi-nationals.
From the way we live our daily domestic lives, to the manner in which we do business, the march of technology is giving even the most modest ventures the chance to break into larger markets and be innovative when it comes to customer service, publicity and development. Reaching a worldwide client base is no longer the exclusive preserve of household name brands - any ‘cottage industry’ business can set up a website and potentially hit the big time.
Even more importantly, I’ve noticed that SMEs in the South East are realising how they can help each other to succeed. ‘Collaboration’ seems to be a real buzzword for the region and we’re seeing this philosophy in action all the time. Networking is very well facilitated in Kent, Surrey and Sussex. But the idea that businesses should see each other as assets whose success could bring opportunities for others in the area, rather than viewing them simply as referral leads or out-and-out rivals, really seems to be taking hold. At the recent Kent Independent Traders Awards, attendees were urged to work together to keep the region’s business community thriving and it was clear that many were already embracing the idea, judging by the friendly and supportive atmosphere in the room.
One great example is Shake It Up Creative, the new Worthing-based marketing and design company that’s offering its time for free to a lucky fellow start-up. The two busy mums who founded the company are no doubt aware of the positive publicity the story is generating, but they will still be donating their time to help another cash-strapped entrepreneur to get a decent start in their business life. This could be invaluable to any new enterprise taking its first unsteady steps into the world of commerce, and is a good example of how companies don’t need to be big in order to make an meaningful contribution to the success of another.