It was my privilege recently to be a judge at the inaugural Brighton & Hove Independent Business Awards.
The judging process went smoothly and the awards event at the Amex Stadium was an enjoyable celebration of some great Sussex businesses.
Nearly all entries were from SMEs and key judging criteria were a vision to succeed, the ability to compete with big businesses and exceptional performance.
Winners included Rickshaw Travel (overall winner), Pier Recruitment, the Bluebird Tea Company, the Big Lemon and Sussex Signs and they all showed innovative employee relations, team spirit and a strong client service ethic.
But there are other qualities that businesses need.
In these uncertain times, businesses should ‘anticipate’ not just threats but opportunities.
So the ability to look over the horizon is key. Businesses should ‘challenge’ the status quo and ‘interpret’ using complex and often conflicting information.
Finally, businesses must ‘decide’ and make tough calls.
Times have never been so uncertain as they are now and over recent days, I have seen and heard of businesses that are either keeping their heads down or those that are asking lots of questions.
My view is that we all need to reflect and wait a while – remember that we remain in the EU for two years from the invocation of Article 50.
We need to be optimistic and believe that the EU will want in some form to continue to trade with us.
And finally, we should learn from Richard Branson who said – ‘My mother taught me never to look back but to move on’.
I consistently meet SMEs in Sussex that have the vision to succeed, show exceptional performance and compete not just with bigger businesses but around the world.
I am quite confident that they will utilise their skills to continue to do so.