We have been working in an uncertain and punishing economic climate for around 5 years now. The chancellor last week gave us the news that government spending cuts must become deeper for longer as the private sector has not grown as initially expected – a message which will have surprised very few of us in business.
In such times as these, where do we find the spark to ignite the entrepreneurs, enabling the private sector to develop and create the jobs and investment required for the economy to grow? Part of the answer surely lies within how we currently work together.
Collaboration, as a way of working, is nothing new. It is however time to consider how we can all collaborate more effectively in order to grow and strengthen our businesses.
I have highlighted three broad areas where collaboration can help to deliver more:
- Promote local talent to global business
Global businesses have wealth, strength and power. What they need is the expertise to solve complex, idiosyncratic issues. I have seen a number of examples recently where challenges faced by global corporates have been met by the skills and expertise of local SME’s. Why? Because they have the knowledge, skill and flexibility to find solutions. It is no coincidence that a number of success stories we read about in the North East feature local businesses creating collaborative relationships with global players.
- Time to review the supply chain
A number of smart companies are now re-thinking the traditional supplier-customer relationships to maximise returns. Although resources are scarce, there is still a lot of waste within businesses such as unused machine capacity, unutilised skills etc. It is time to work with other, like-minded businesses to utilise such capacity and get the most out of the investments we have made.
- There is synergy in skills
Our customers are expecting more cohesive solutions from their suppliers. The businesses we view as competitors may well be the ones to provide complimentary skills and expertise in the delivery of your goods and services to a wider market. It is time to start talking to them about what you can offer to customers together as that will make you both stronger.
We all hope that the economy will pull through in the near future. Even if it does, it will not provide us with all of the answers. The effect of globalisation and information sharing has never been stronger – we need to rethink our working habits – both for now and also for the future.