Orange identifies the Super SME

As part of its ongoing ‘Entreprenation’ campaign which looks at entrepreneurialism across the UK, Orange has identified common characteristics shared by some of Britain’s leading and most successful privately-owned, small and medium companies, or ‘Super SMEs’.

By researching the Fast Track 100 and Tech Track 100, Orange has determined that Super SMEs, and the entrepreneurs who established them, demonstrate similar attributes. The most common characteristics that appear to be conducive to running a successful business include: Good communication skills; Keeping up with and using new innovations to their advantage; Being well connected; High online presence; Environmentally aware and sympathetic.

The recent Orange Entreprenation report undertaken with YouGov examined the profile, location and key drivers behind entrepreneurialism in the UK. Altogether, 50% of respondents named good communication skills as key to being a successful entrepreneur; 38% named keeping up with and using new innovations as an advantage; and 29% listed being ‘well connected’ as a further trait.

The report also investigated the more established successful small and medium UK companies. When looking at their use of social media, and how well new forms of communications were utilised, Orange found that 75% of those companies either had a medium or high online presence. The research also found that while London still dominates as a hot spot of entrepreneurial activity with 39% of companies based there, the South West with cities such as Bristol and Bath is hot on its heels with more than one in ten (13%) run out of the region.

Interestingly, it is the characteristics that Super SME’s fail to possess that most highlights how entrepreneurialism has opened its arms to all. Despite creativity typically being thought of as an entrepreneurial trait, many business leaders spoken to by Orange denied being creative. However, some did admit to surrounding themselves with creative talent to make up for their perceived shortcomings.

Martin Lyne, director of small and medium business, Orange UK, said: “Whether based in a rural hamlet or a major city, it’s clear that high flying Super SME’s and more importantly, the entrepreneur who established them, share key characteristics. For instance, a desire to keep abreast of the latest innovations and technologies has given budding entrepreneurs access to new tools to help run their businesses. Presence on social networking sites for example now provide start ups with access to new contacts, new ways of thinking and new customers, which formally would have been difficult to attain.

“However, being tech-savvy is not the only measure of success. To be one of the best innovators in the UK, the Entreprenation report has told us that a strong sense of passion for their business, and an ability to communicate this to others, is equally key to making a business successful.”

Commenting on the research, IoD director general, Miles Templeman, said: “In the course of my work at the IoD I meet many people trying to build up companies, often from scratch, and I’m always struck at how the most successful are usually great communicators who convey a passion and enthusiasm for their business which is infectious.”

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