‘Go for growth’ is message from Summit leaders
Scotland’s small businesses were today urged to move into ‘scale-up’ phase by business leaders, from traditional to modern, keen to pass on their experiences.
Speakers at a Scale-Up Summit explained how they had changed management practices and adopted new marketing techniques to win new business and grow their companies.
Mark Hogarth, creative director at Harris Tweed Hebrides and Jess Butcher, co-founder of the augmented reality app Blippar, represented the range of businesses who, despite their contrasting sectors, faced similar problems and challenges.
Mr Hogarth advised more than 300 delegates attending the event at Gleneagles Hotel to protect the core group of customers while looking to seek out partnerships that could enhance the brand.
He said it was important to ensure demand was higher than supply and to look for “partnerships” with firms who could help to jointly market and sell the product.
He highlighted the need for his company to aim for “high end” brands such as single malt whisky companies and fashion labels, noting a tie-up with Chanel.
At the same time it had done deals with Top Shop to extend the product’s appeal to a younger demographic.
He emphasised the “power of provenance” and telling the “story” of a brand.
Ms Butcher said it was important to empower staff, to bring in managers “who are better than you” and to ensure everyone in the company had a clear understanding of its culture.
“The founders’ personalities are very much part of a start-up,” she said. “But we do not give enough attention to the wider values of the company. What do our people think the company represents? And what do we think attracts people to the company?”
Sharan Pasricha, founder and CEO of Ennismore, which bought Gleneagles Hotel in July 2015, said the company wanted to broaden the hotel’s appeal beyond golf.
Speaking afterwards he said the company had been approached about “rolling out” the Gleneagles brand.
“We have been asked, but absolutely not. There will only be one Gleneagles,” he said.
Search and senior interim recruitment practice, Carlyle, is the latest to offer support to entrepreneurship in Scotland by becoming a partner to Entrepreneurial Scotland which organised the Summit.
Sandy Kennedy, chief executive of Entrepreneurial Scotland said: “We’re looking forward to working with Duggie [Carlyle, founder], and all at Carlyle to grow a meaningful partnership that results in demonstrable outcomes for both organisations as well as the wider business community.”