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Tips for small businesses to stay on top

Explore tips from business leaders on how small businesses can stay ahead


Running a business requires not only focus and energy but a bold attitude to take risks and do things differently.
#ThoseWhoDare brings together inspirational stories and tips from business leaders who have dared to be different. All businesses can benefit from some fresh inspiration every now and then to shake things up and take their brand to the next level, which is why we’ve gathered some of the most memorable tips from the platform across five areas key to business success. Below is a valuable source of inspiration for small businesses looking to embrace bold thinking to help them rise to any challenge.

Business resilience

Creating opportunities out of challenging situations is a key strategy for business success.
Eddie Hearn, Sports and Entertainment Group Managing Director, Matchroom Sport
On responding to challenges such as the pandemic:

“For SMEs it’s all about being reactive and responding to situations as quickly as you can.”
“It’s about being smart, thinking on our feet and coming out the other side.”

Co-Founder of Shazam, Dhiraj Mukherjee
On retaining resilience:
“My grandfather, an admiral of the Indian Navy, said to me: ‘If you put your mind to it, you can make it happen’”
“At Shazam we focussed on making sure we enjoyed every moment of the journey - that helps to make it through the difficult times.”
On the importance of ‘designing for uncertainty’:
“(It’s about) parking that desire to cling to something that is familiar and applying our minds to what it is we don’t know and what we can do about that.”
“I’m a big believer in having structures which are flexible - squads and teams that can solve a problem and move on. Businesses who do that will be in good shape for the future.”

Changing social attitudes and behaviours

Getting to know customers and addressing changing social attitudes is key for staying ahead:
Tom Sellers – the chef, patron and visionary behind Restaurant Story
On social media:
“Social media is such a powerful tool and it takes such a long time to understand – what’s important is that people who control their platforms ensure they monitor all content correctly.”

Nacho Rivera & Juan Fernández-Estrada, Co-Founders of Blue Banana
“Through our images on social media (our customers) can be transported to those journeys and adventures and without doing them, dream of living them.”
On their business philosophy:
“There’s a trend to go as fast as possible and to grow, grow, and grow – our philosophy has always been that speed is important but without a doubt, the course is what sets the tone.”


Jenny Costa, Founder and CEO of Rubies in the Rubble
On prioritising sustainability:
“To really make sustainable change, it has to come from the core of the business.”
“There’s a generation of people that want to believe in better and businesses have a responsibility to make change and to (deliver) the changes we want to see on this planet.”

Jessica Sansom, former Head of Sustainability at Innocent Drinks
On why sustainability is not only good for the planet but a company’s bottom line:
“Sustainability for businesses is more of a strategic imperative, not a choice.”
“You wouldn’t try to run a marathon on cheap donuts and no sleep, you’d look after your body to make sure you can pull it across the finishing line, and with businesses we need to make sure that we stop over-consuming and exploiting.”

Data and digital

Businesses today need to be digital and have the right data to thrive:
Adam Brown, Founder and Creative Director of Orlebar Brown
On business websites:
“Opening your website is a bit like having your shop on the quietest street in the world, and so we have to consistently drive traffic to that store.”
On the changing dynamic with customers:
“Our dynamic has changed with the customer – we are fitting in more with how the customer wants to shop rather than expecting the customer to come to us and shop in the way we want them to.”

Priya Lakhani OBE, CEO and Founder, Century Tech
On using technology to innovate:
“Every company is a technology company in some form. And innovation is not undesirable, it’s about survival.”
“You don’t need to be an engineer or a coder, you just need to understand how (technology) can be applied to your sector.”

Talent and retention

Running a workplace that is inclusive, diverse and collaborative is vital for business success:
René Carayol MBE, CEO, the Inspired Leaders Network
On diversity and inclusion:
“Inclusion has always been the right thing to do. But today, it’s the smart thing to do.”
“McKinsey’s seminal research from March 2020 proved a 34% financial uplift provided by diverse teams.”
“Diversity is a fact. Inclusion is a choice.”

Pierluigi Collina, Chairman, FIFA Referees’ Committee
On the importance of teamwork:
“There is a famous saying: ‘talent wins games, teamwork wins championships’”

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