Telling the truth about SME life today

Another year, another jumbo crop of success stories courtesy of the UK’s hottest 100 entrepreneurs. The 2008 list is as assorted as ever, but they all have in common a knack for conjuring super sales stats.

Some firms in the Hot 100 capitalise on emerging markets, some exploit new technologies, while others make a point of delivering supreme customer experience or bargain-basement prices. Others do it the old-fashioned way: simply being better than everyone else.

A glimpse at the businesses on our list reveals the UK’s economic diversity, as well as its essential strength. High-flyers include a provider of sub-aquatic skills training (Oceanteam 2000, at number two on the list), a manufacturer of portable entertainment units (Portable Multimedia, 7th) and an installer of Sky telly boxes (Custom Group, 10th).

Some firms are doing well off the back of a bright idea, such as TMTI (which stands for Talk Me Through It), in at number 11. The business feeds on the complexity of modern technology and the fact (though we hate to admit it) that it often baffles us. It’s a simple call line and website that explains what you need to do to get your phone, PDA or laptop to do what you want it to. Turnover: £5m and counting.

Then there’s the old guard; traditional businesses such as financial consultancy Derivatives Consulting Group (8th) and shop-fitter Probuild Birmingham (9th), for which attention to detail and quality service have helped build a client list that reads like a who’s who of blue-chips.


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