Maintaining high growth and innovation should be one goal for many businesses.
Whilst we would all like to believe that economic growth, increasing productivity, growing the profits of our businesses and rewarding our staff for their endeavours should be a smooth path, we all know that in fact those notions are often far removed from reality.
This conundrum recently got me thinking about the composition and performance of firms. As a starting point, maintaining high growth must be one goal for many businesses. My researches confirmed that highly innovative firms (HIF) grow faster on average than other firms. Younger and smaller firms are apparently able to also grow faster than their counterparts.
This is the result of smaller firms initially being below the minimum efficient size for their industry. Equally interesting is the fact that younger HIF have greater potential to translate their ability to deliver superior innovation into high growth. But, and those of us in business for many years will know, growth turns out to be erratic. Maintaining continuous high growth can be very problematic. Major external influences can impact on our business plans and the actions we are taking to achieve our targets.
One of the key reasons is that we face economic cycles which significantly affect the realisation of our business goals. This means that growth is subject to short-term pressures. Consequently, many firms can and will move in and out of high growth in what I might describe as ‘a largely erratic manner’.
Bearing in mind that scenario, innovation therefore becomes of greater importance. From that fact, I am delighted to conclude that securing more of the value of innovation will help Chamber members, local firms and the East Staffordshire economy grow.
As one Chamber member, a family-owned business, recently remarked to me: ‘Capturing more of the value of innovations will really help both firms and our economy grow. Firms need to invest in building their long-term capabilities to create value’. To which I added that ‘they need to develop complementary assets to capture the value of their business activities”.
Our Chamber membership contains a healthy proportion of successful family-owned businesses, leaving aside my own Yee Group. This group of members keenly recognises that innovation and technology are amongst the top five challenges family firms and other businesses face.
Back in January, our Executive Director Chris Plant reported that ‘a total of 1,410 businesses across Staffordshire are now members of our Chambers, equating to a 10 per cent increase in the last year’.
He commented that ‘breaking through the 1,400 mark is a tremendous milestone and enables businesses joining the Chambers to enter an expanding network of likeminded people who they can connect with, work and share knowledge’.
The inclusive nature of our Chamber means that across the membership we are able to share and learn from each other. It’s a practice that I will continue to strongly encourage every member to adopt. It will no doubt be an evolutionary process. But it is one that we can learn from; and it will be beneficial to our businesses and achieving our individual and mutually shared goals.
The continuing success of the Chamber’s annual ‘Let’s Do Business’ which has grown in importance in the business calendar year-on-year is an important example. The 2016 event is again being held at Uttoxeter Racecourse on Thursday 23 June.
Early application will ensure that you can grab a prime location in the exhibition which is now attracting more than 2,000 visitors with its wide mix of local companies.
The fact that our Chamber membership is comprised of a continually expanding range of businesses from different sectors and industries, provides another excellent illustration of the growing importance of local Chambers.
If your company has an innovation, special announcement, like an award, or information that you would like us to share on your behalf with Chamber members, then please email our Executive Director, Chris Plant, [email protected]ase-chamber.com
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited