Smaller Firms 'Collaborating For Growth'

A New Report Has Shown That Many SMEs Are Working Together To Fuel Growth

20.03.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

A new report from CitySprint has found that many SMEs are working together to overcome economic hurdles.

While the UK's wider economy has recovered from its historic lows in recent months, many smaller firms have complained that consumer demand is not as high as expected, reports Real Business.

To overcome this, CitySprint believes that most SMEs are collaborating on projects, with 68 per cent of those surveyed in a study stating they have worked closely with other companies.

The extent to which this team spirit is visible depends on their region, with 80 per cent of London-based firms working with counterparts compared to 71 per cent in Yorkshire and 78 per cent in the north-east of England.

Much of this collaboration is formal, with outsourcing contracts increasingly seen as a way to get value for money out of tricky operations, including IT and back-office functions.

A total of 23 per cent of those surveyed said they had outsourced computing or technology systems to a partner within the previous 12-month period, with most of these contracts being taken up by similarly sized companies.

But outsourcing isn't the only avenue for collaboration. According to CitySpring, 28 per cent of businesses are working with other SMEs to build sales leads and win new business.

Professor Robert Blackburn, director of the Small Business Research Centre at Kingston University in London, commented: "SMEs turned to each other to maximise efficiency and output during the downturn and are now starting to collaborate in different ways.

"This includes a focus on bringing in support for functions which will help them grow their reach and market share, perhaps even into related activities and new geographical territories."

SMEs have regularly complained that they are not being given enough funding by traditional financial institutions in recent months - something that could be driving the pooling of resources seen across the UK's economy.

Expert Opinion
We know that many smaller firms worked collaboratively in the downturn and are exploring ways of working together as the economy improves and new challenges and opportunities emerge.

“This survey highlights this point and demonstrates that SMEs appreciate that in order to be successful in what continues to be a challenging market, they need the same expertise that larger organisation have.

“The same applies to legal services. Just because a business is small doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require good quality support and advice. Working collaboratively is crucial and so too is working with professional advisers who understand both the needs of large and small organisations.”
Steven Beahan, Partner