The Art of Smart

Promotional Business Feature
Stuart Weeks Crowe

What causes companies around the world to make one decision over another? Can a business be inspired by another’s decision-making, even if it’s thousands of miles away?

Stuart Weekes, at audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe UK, discusses the issues

Ranked the eighth largest accounting network in the world, Crowe Global has more than 200 independent accounting and advisory fi rms in 130 countries.

Drawing on this extensive knowledge and network, The Art of Smart is the most comprehensive study of corporate decision-making in the world which explores the different facets of decision-making by companies across the world.

This year’s Art of Smart reveals risk as a strong motivator for bold decisions and innovation. That’s good news for Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley companies, where courage has never been in short supply.

The report suggests that bolder companies are often operating in more challenging business conditions, and the tougher a situation, the bolder the company.

Innovative companies tend to be more prevalent in sectors where growth is sluggish, and, contrary to popular belief, younger companies do not necessarily innovate more. The research found that successful companies operating in slow growing industries were backed by robust research and development and had a higher number of recognisable innovations.

Biotech is a standout sector in this year’s Art of Smart data, which is great news for Oxfordshire and the Thames Valley where there are hundreds of British-born companies in the sector already exporting across the world.

However, while the UK remains full of innovative ideas, of which many can be supported through grants and R&D tax credits, too often companies are short of investors with deep enough pockets to help them scale up. Stand-out businesses such as Protim, Penlon and Norbar are the exceptions, having secured investment from US companies, which thanks to its entrepreneurial health related infrastructure, is supported by large amounts of venture and corporate capital wanting to buy into their success.

On a local level, our list of 100 Top Exporters also reveals that, despite the view that Britain doesn’t make much any more, the contrary is true.

The biggest number of exporters by far are manufacturers, making anything from food or furniture to one of the most iconic cars in the world, the MINI, alongside world-beating motorsport and technology.

Retail brands also feature in our list too. Britain is known for producing world class brands and we’ve included some of the newer, fast-growing ones, which might not be immediately familiar.

Interestingly, two pet product manufacturers are listed, tapping into a pet care market estimated to hit a value of $269 billion by 2025, according to market intelligence company Global Market Insights.

A diverse workforce can deliver explosive growth

There are other ways to drive a smart business and investment in workforce diversity is an important one.

Increasing numbers of companies are recognising that a more inclusive culture will feed into (and draw from) a wider talent pool, providing different viewpoints on which to base strategic and operational decisions.

Research for this year’s Art of Smart revealed that overall, companies that scored highest in diversity also achieved explosive growth in terms of revenue per employee – an incredible 3,680 per cent.

Be bold and brave

Boldness and innovation help companies across the world to overcome challenges. Those that do nothing increase their likelihood of business failure, those that are proactive increase their chances of survival and success. In difficult scenarios, companies that make bold moves, such as entering new markets or developing new products and services may still fail, but they’re unlikely to be successful without making those big decisions. It’s all about changing the balance of probabilities.

Read The Art of Smart

Published as part of our 100 Top Exporters Oxfordshire & Thames Valley feature in our January/February Issue read full feature here