Small is Beautiful
The phrase “Small is Beautiful” is from the title of a book by the British economist E F Schumacher first published in 1973.
The original cover displayed the words ‘a study of economics as if people mattered’.
A recurrent theme throughout the book is how organisations stripped the satisfaction out of work by making the worker an anonymous cog in a huge machine.
What Schumacher wanted was people-centred economics which would, in his view, enable environmental and human sustainability.
He argued for small businesses in favour of larger ones and he wanted production by the masses rather than "mass production".
Long Term Focus
As an A level economics student his philosophy resonated strongly with me. Wind the clock forward 40+ years and it still does, particularly in the context of creating a sustainable values-driven small business.
The buyout of Panintelligence in early 2014 gave the company directors the opportunity to implement these ideals into the new business.
By any measure we are a small business and little more than a blip on the radar of our bigger, global competitors.
Our size and financial resources means we can’t compete in many areas; marketing spend, sales resource and geographical reach, but the old adage ‘that people buy from people’ remains true.
This is where being small and responsive can be a distinct advantage.
Relationships Come First
Building strong relationships is at the heart of everything we do and our focus is on the long term rather than chasing short term goals.
Our customers and partners know they can reach our Directors at any time and decisions can be made quickly with none of the bureaucracy or lags associated with bigger businesses.
We pride ourselves on being agile, responsive and innovative, whether in relation to product development, staff, or customer engagement, and we actively encourage a collaborative approach to our product roadmap.
Our route to market is predominantly through partners which makes our business model scalable. Therefore we can grow turnover and profit without a proportional growth in staff numbers.
The phrase small is beautiful is often used to champion small, appropriate technologies that are believed to empower people more, in contrast with phrases such as "bigger is better”.
However, we also know we owe it to our shareholders, staff and customers to be the best we can be.
Our biggest challenge is to grow the business in a sustainable way, while maintaining the culture we value, ensuring that it still encapsulates a small is beautiful mindset.