Do you ever feel the effects of ‘The London Brain Drain’ on your business?
Do you find it hard to attract staff with the right skills or clients who are the right fit? Or do you find other challenges with running a business in Kent?
Having grown up in Kent and Sussex and been lured away to work in the Capital myself for almost 10 years, I was – perhaps – once part of the problem.
Since moving back to Kent to start my own business in 2013 I have been heartened to see how much is going on across Kent and the other Home Counties in terms of new businesses starting up.
Founding new companies is all very well, but we have a problem with growing businesses in this country, and Kent is not immune from the problem.
The UK lags behind the US and our European counterparts in ‘the extent to which our businesses scale’, as explained by Sherri Coutu in The Scaleup Report, commissioned by the government in 2014. (Read more at http://www.scaleupreport.org/scaleup-report.pdf)
For a business to grow, it needs the right support and although we have some excellent individuals and organisations offering to help in a variety of ways in Kent, including the Kent Foundation, Locate in Kent, the FSB, the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce and the Kent and Medway Growth Hub amongst others, there is always space for more to be done.
I like to think that I play my part in solving this issue through my own business, Get Fruitful Marketing, and I have recently agreed to take on another (voluntary) role as IOD99 Champion for the South Region to step up and do more. The IOD99 is the fastest-growing network for founders of companies in the first five years of trading in the UK. We are effectively the start-up membership cohort of the Institute of Directors – an organisation that is perhaps more commonly known for its representation of bigger corporations who have clocked up a few more years in business. Part of my responsibility in this role is to encourage more engagement between our start-up members, and the wider membership of more established business leaders.
We all know the statistics which show how hard it is to break through the first five years of running your own company – depending on what source you read, up to 80% of businesses are said to fail in this crucial embryonic time.
Seeking wise words, connections and encouragement through informal mentoring and more structured networks such as those offered by the IOD can be vital to help a newly formed venture on its way in these early years.
From the other side of the table, more established businesses can also learn a lot from the new players entering, and often disrupting the market. The world never stands still, and perhaps those who have been in the game a little longer can still pick up fresh ideas from the ‘new kids on the block’.
If you’d welcome the opportunity to connect with more fellow founders of new businesses from Kent and surrounding areas, I warmly invite you to join me and fellow Kent IOD99 Ambassador Dan Corpe on Wednesday 15th November for Making the Kent Powerhouse Thrive!
This will be the launch of a regular series of IOD99 event in Kent, and across the South region and beyond London. There will be the chance to hear from three current IOD99 members about the challenges they face doing business in the County, plus an opportunity to discuss solutions and ways forward together, and hear from Graeme Risby, CEO & Co-Founder of HiyaCar on how he has been growing his ‘AirBnB for cars’, disrupting the automotive industry and attracting over £2m seed capital from crowdfunding and Angel investors.
We will be at the stylish retro-themed Hotel 7 Diner in Halstead, between Sevenoaks and Orpington from 5.30 – 8pm on Wednesday 15th November.
Book your place now at https://www.iod.com/events-community/events/event-details/eventdateid/7263
It would be great to see you there!