Small businesses can win at London 2012

Kevin Mannion is CEO of Legion, a London-based business whose crowd modelling software has been used on past Olympic Games and Paralympic Games projects.

In Journey to 2012, the Lloyds TSB Official Business Guide for London 2012, which was published this week, he gave his unique insight into how smaller businesses can benefit from the 2012 project:

"Companies often ask whether working on the Games leads to new business. Well, the bid team for Tokyo 2016 love our technology – but they love our CVs more; we’ve been involved in four successful Games bids. Likewise, when Shanghai Metro were looking at us recently, someone at the meeting turned to the other and said, “Oh, they’re being used by the Olympics”. That was it. You’re a much easier buying decision if you’re doing this kind of work – it’s great for a company with just 25 people. But working on an Olympic Games and Paralympic Games does stretch you. You discover your potential breaking points and it makes you think how to improve the software and develop the business. It’s also a huge motivator: people are proud to work on such exciting projects. They’ll always have that on their CV. And it makes you more attractive as a company to potential employees.

"Cash-flow is a big challenge. With big projects such as the London 2012 Games, it’s important not to have too many eggs in one basket. There will be intense bursts of activity when no-one sleeps, then nothing. And you may well be turning down work while you wait for the next burst. There’s no alternative venue or moveable date for the London 2012 Games. but while end dates can’t slip, start dates might. So you have to be able to react very quickly. This is one reason why partnering can make a big difference.

"We also do traffic simulations, so there’s the whole Stratford redevelopment and further into the Thames Gateway to look forward to. I won’t allow anyone in the company to use the term ‘loss leader’. It trips off the tongue far too easily, especially with prestige projects such as the London 2012 Games. I much prefer the term ‘profit leader’."

Kevin Mannion will be joining the central players in the London 2012 project at the 2008 CBI Business Summit on June 11. To find out more and book your tickets, call 020 7368 7123 or email

Related linksJourney to 2012

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