Posted: Tuesday, 4 December 2018 @ 09:59
Supporting Britain’s SMEs isn’t just a business model at Rivers Leasing; it’s something we try to apply in the details of our work and operations. After all, when SMEs are successful, we all win.
As a niche asset finance company, supporting Britain’s SMEs is at the heart of our work, from our dedication to fast decision making and short communication lines to the size of the loans that we specialise in.
However, supporting SMEs is also something we, as individuals and as an organisation, try to reflect wherever possible in our wider activities because to support growing businesses in the UK is to support our economy as a whole.
We have all seen the signs outside independent coffee shops heralding ‘when you buy from a small business, you’re helping a little girl get dance lessons, a mum or dad put food on the table, a family pay a mortgage.’
This isn’t just a chalk message on a sandwich board or a meme on social media though. The Economic and Social Research Council states that: “contributing 47% of revenue to the UK economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have a key role in boosting productivity – but need support to expand business and increase impact.”
It is easy, as individuals, to feel as though we cannot make a difference to the economy, except perhaps within the microcosm of our own income. However, it is empowering to feel that in some of the smaller choices that we make we can support the growing businesses that make up almost half of the country’s revenue.
That might be choosing to buy your morning coffee from an independent store, or it may be making the extra effort to go to the greengrocers at the weekend instead of the supermarket.
The power of choice
As companies, we have even greater power to make that difference. For example, at Rivers Leasing we have created a business structure that allows us to work with large as well as smaller brokers and where every loan is of equal and imperative value to us.
Equally, when we organise our printed materials we choose to go to a local supplier with whom we have built a trusted relationship over a number of years, and when we wish to thank someone we go to The English Wine Collection, a family-run business which celebrated its first year this summer.
Reflecting our values
In addition to being a very small part of the economic progress we wish to see in the world, choosing to work with SMEs wherever we can also reflects the values that we hold dear within our organisation.
Customer service and strong, supportive relationships have always been central to our ethos - a personal approach and contact with an individual rather than automated responses. These are things we find kinship with in the SMEs and individuals we choose to work with.
Every decision we make reflects the values of our organisation and is also done with thought and consideration for and about the people we work with. If we are saying thank you, we want that person to know that we really mean it, and that we have thought about them as individuals. If we’re giving out a business card, we want the person taking it to understand that we really feel we can be of meaningful support in some way.
We are all often under great pressure to move quickly and make things happen, and there is no doubt that speed is often an asset. However, we also need to be mindful that we practice what we preach, because while the small decisions may not seem to matter very much to the bottom line today and when you’ve got a to do list as long as you’re arm, they make a big difference to individuals and businesses, and at the end of the day they say an awful lot about who you are as an organisation.