In a recent Sunday Times article Luke Johnson (@LukeJohnsonRCP), the Chairman of Risk Capital Partners, talked about how the UK is exceeding the US in entrepreneurship based on start-up and growth numbers.
There were 581,173 UK start-ups in 2014; an increase of almost 10% on the previous year. A heady stat and testament to the culture that British society and business is creating in the UK.
For me, ‘entrepreneurialism’ is an over-used word. I’m not convinced that the owners and shareholders of all 581,173 companies are worthy of the title. Suffice to say, I consider myself a business owner, not an entrepreneur!
However, what those businesses and individuals will share with me is a passion to do things better. Better than their competitors, better than their previous employer and, importantly, better for the end user or consumer.
At Boutique, our brand promise is to ‘Think and Do. Better’. It creates a culture of high standards, no compromising on delivery and excellence in both internal and external activity.
That, critically, is what you should expect from privately owned, independent companies; a desire to be better that is brought to life in the engagement. It’s a passion, assiduity and dynamism (coupled with creativity and pre-requisite level of experience, knowledge and intelligence!) that larger, corporate, hierarchically-structured, operationally-led businesses can’t fulfil. If all 581,173 can start with that core belief we’d all like to think they’ll succeed wouldn’t we?
Naturally, I am biased; I own an agency. I am passionate about our independence and other independent businesses and, wherever possible, I use independents and partner with like-minded agencies. I also prefer to shop locally with bespoke, privately owned retailers. I do that because I both believe in supporting growing, sustainable businesses that care, but I do also expect a personal approach – I expect the dynamism behind the businesses will impact on my experience.
Furthermore, these new companies contribute disproportionately to job creation and innovation. They are less risk averse and have a flexibility that is client-centric, irrelevant of sector or business type. Surely that is something we should all support if it is a sustainable model that benefits all stakeholders?
We seem to be on the cusp of a change in society, away from the big corporate businesses, and retail is a fine example with the ongoing profit warnings and declining turnover of the bigger Supermarkets in favour of the independents, challenger brands (granted, not necessary independent) and symbol groups (one reason we were so excited to be appointed to Costcutter). That shift is, I hope, representative of a bigger shift in mind-set that will, in this example, drive our high streets to growth, and more widely will provide confidence in all sectors that an ‘alternative’ is desirable and, in turn, the growth of entrepreneurship will continue at a rapid pace.
I don’t believe in the overly used word entrepreneurialism per se, but I do believe in independent businesses and all they stand for and, in a terribly selfish manner, I hope Marketing Directors are all feeling the same way!