It’s not all about high technology start-ups


Throughout the world there is currently lots of hype about high growth technology start-ups. In the UK, accelerator programmes developed by successful US tech entrepreneurs have ignited interest in searching out the next Google or LinkedIn.  The craze of boot camps and lean start-up initiatives, designed to help the next global star get off the ground, have attracted the attention of the policy makers keen to identify the next big employer.

I am a big supporter of the start-up agenda; however saying we don’t need any more hairdressers or life style businesses is wrong! High technology starts ups are only part of the answer. There is so much potential in what I would refer to as the traditional industries of engineering, retailing and indeed construction. I was fortunate today to meet the founder and MD of what could at face value be termed a traditional business, but they are a construction company with a difference – they have grown to some £3M in less than three years and employ +20 of people. They have the secret ingredients of:

  • A strong brand and edge in the market place (innovation)
  • A passionate leader who is ambitious and keen to grow
  • Strong team
  • Delivering “off the scale” customer service
  • Looking after those who are important – staff, customers and suppliers
  • Strong financial management

They are not high technology, just a decent honest business led by an individual on a mission. High technology businesses are not the panacea for job creation, individuals who want to make a difference and who have a great idea are the ones who will drive the economy. They maybe very traditional in their offering but use enabling technology to drive growth. The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 is stacked with businesses that do normal stuff and include accountants and petrol stations, at face value not high-tech but embrace new technology to accelerate their growth and performance. Individuals who think differently run these companies. So if you run a chip shop, you could be the next Harry Ramsden, or maybe a hairdresser, Vidal Sassoon didn’t do so bad neither did Toni and Guy.