Tough times have a way of bringing people together; families, co-workers, communities, countries. Over the past decade, recovering from a global economic crisis hasn’t been easy, nor is it over. Even in the world of commerce, from big to small business, changes can seem to take forever. And yet, we see that when people work together toward a common goal, monumental changes can happen in record time.
The distribution of knowledge enriches our lives. What a shift our planet took when the Internet connected people from every part of the globe. Sure, we all know that some of it is better left unread. But, for the most part, the lightning speed with which education and news is conveyed has opened up (literally) a whole new world.
Everyone has something to contribute, whether it’s research, resourcefulness, personal stories, or compassion – just to name a few. When we mingle with others in our everyday lives, it gives us hope. As we are able to connect with open communities of small business owners, it allows us to sharpen our minds and expand the limits of our imaginations.
No Man Is An Island
True, when resources are pooled, the end game may look different from what we originally thought it would. We might have imagined a framework made up entirely of our own concepts and management style. However, being the boss doesn’t mean excluding other’s great ideas – in fact, collaboration is one of the best things you can do to drive your small business growth and success.
Do Not Swear By The Moon
In business, it has to be said that the only constant is change. The last thing you want to do is hold your ground – come hell or high water – without adapting to market changes or customer preferences. The small business entrepreneurs that succeed (and are still in business ten years into the future) are the same ones who’ve remained open to new ideas and honest feedback.
An Idea Lives On
Business boot camps, accelerators, incubators – think of them as assets you can utilize on an as-needed basis. Whether it’s funding opportunities, advice, webinars and networking via the Internet (or local shared work spaces for the benefit of multiple startups and the self-employed), the sharing of expertise and personal experiences is worth its weight in gold for the expansion of a small business.
On The Shoulders Of Giants
According to Zipcar’s Smarter Business Blueprint (in collaboration with Start Up Britain, Ashridge Business School, and a group of London’s leading startups), one of six recommendations for success is to be a collaborative cost-cutter. Eight out of ten surveyed top entrepreneurs claim that they rely upon shared resources to build their small business. Another tip was to adopt an innovative attitude for compensating your workers: combining an equity percentage along with salary will bring in rock stars.
“One of the strongest recommendations that came out of our research was for businesses to reconsider the role that ownership plays and move towards a more sharing approach.” (Mark Walker, General Mgr, Zipcar UK)
It’s There For The Taking
Since 1999, the institute for small business and entrepreneurship – UK Business Incubation (UKBI) – has been the primary authority for helping the government and regional agencies to make solid contributions to regional and national economic growth. Their focus is on professional quality incubation, and support of proper environments for nurtured growth; such as universities, research labs, clusters of commercial and regeneration projects, and the like.
Annual conferences and multiple events and workshops are held by UKBI, an organisation whose 4,000 members offer vast reserves of expertise, while engaging with all elements of UK’s entrepreneurial community.
Competition Isn’t All Bad
Working with your competitors could be the ultimate key to your growth. What? Did they really say that? Yes. Not every small business – even in the same industry – can possibly provide all the expertise, all of the time to all customers. All of us have recommended a friend or associate at one time or another.
The thing is, sometimes we should be humble and support our industry. It’s a good thing. Remember the sports quote, “If you can’t win, make the fellow ahead of you break the record.” You want your industry to shine. It makes everyone look good, including you!