A focus on niche markets, an export-led growth strategy, with a leader who is visionary about the business: these are the hallmarks of a cohort of 1,000 firms that have been leading the way for economic growth, according to new research by Deloitte. The findings strongly reinforce the messages of the government’s Business is GREAT campaign.
The Businesses Leading Britain report says that over the last four years, these 1,000 companies have increased their combined revenues by more than £45bn to a total figure of £131bn – or 8.7 per cent of GDP.
The companies have created employment growth in every region across the UK. Over the past four years, they have added nearly 60,000 jobs in London alone and increasing job growth in both the North-West and the East of England by 30,000.
While clustering around major metropolitan areas, the research shows that there are pockets of growth elsewhere; Northern Ireland hosts four of the leading 50 firms. Although London dominates, accounting for 27 per cent of the 1,000 companies, the South-East and North-West contain 135 and 118 firms respectively.
Around two-thirds of the companies identified operate within the consumer business, business and professional services, and manufacturing sectors.
According to Deloitte, the ability to spot export opportunities is key to the success of these companies. Many of their CEOs spend weeks or even months abroad seeking out the right opportunities, says the report.
These CEOs are visionary individuals who do not seek the limelight, adds the report. They excel at hiring and retaining people with the right skills and understand that a long-term vision needs to drive the business growth strategy.
And few of them are household names. Many are hugely successful in niche B2B sectors such as nitrogen generation, computer security, hacking protection, adhesive tapes, and filters for the automotive and medical sectors; they have been highly effective at capitalising on the development of their intellectual property.