What does it take to be an elite business?


My first thought when walking through the doors of the Elite Business Conference last week, set within the bustling surroundings of London’s creative tech hotspot, Shoreditch, was the inspiring sense of positivity and ambition amongst the audience of small business owners and directors.

During the challenging times of the economic downturn, a ‘can-do’ attitude has awoken that has sparked some of the very best innovation from UK-based SMEs, and this was certainly on show at Elite Business.

With over 500 delegates in attendance and keynote speeches from the likes of Karen Brady (West Ham FC & BBC’s The Apprentice) and media expert Michael Portillo, the show was overflowing with top tips on how to grow business and maximise potential.

Never-shy from controversy, Karen Brady kicked-off the conference challenging the wide-eyed audience with “a company that doesn’t have women at the top should be explaining why”.

It was particularly interesting to experience the enthusiasm and excitement in between the speeches and workshops at the event. On arrival, dozens of visitors were stopping at the various exhibitor stands spread across the two floors of the conference venue to network and meet like-minded people and businesses. It takes a well set up show to cater for the breadth of exhibitors that were on display, from business travel agencies, to software and business analytics firms, financial solutions providers and recruiters. But I have to say, it worked.

Our presence at the show was in support of business printing solutions provider OKI. With a captive audience of SME owners and entrepreneurs, we seized the opportunity to ask the delegates some questions of our own and to find out how technology trends are impacting small businesses in today’s market. In particular, we were interested in the growing trend of bring your own device (BYOD) and how the use of personal mobile devices is being integrated into business strategies.

As consumer technology tightens its grip on modern day business, some would think small businesses, known for their agility and flexibility, would be the first to respond. Somewhat surprisingly, we found that almost half of respondents said that they can’t print at all in their office using their own smartphone or tablet.

Amidst the creativity of small businesses and entrepreneurs, a reality of cost control also needs to be achieved. From the survey, a staggering 63{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of SMEs also said they have ‘no understanding’ of their business’ overall printing costs. The overall conclusion is that the majority of SMEs are spending more than they need on printing, simply because they don’t know how to manage, control or measure their day-to-day printing overheads.

After a full day of workshops, speeches and surveying over 110 delegates, the event came to a close. Elite Business was a true success and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.