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CATALINA SOFTWARE

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Downham Market
Norfolk
PE38 9AX

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In A World Of Acquisitions And Fast Growth, Is There Still A Place For Smaller Companies?

In a world of acquisitions and fast growth, is there still a place for smaller companies?

There doesn’t seem to be a month go by without hearing of the acquisition or planned expansion of smaller companies and you might wonder what the future is for smaller providers. As a provider of software solutions to a wide range of companies, we see it from all angles and believe that there are opportunities for everyone and that the playing field is more level than some might think. Customers come in all shapes and sizes and we firmly believe that good business

is about being the right partner for each individual customer. The same applies to being a private hire supplier.

There will always be customers looking for a personal service because they have different needs to the mainstream. There will also be customers that have mainstream needs and high volume. The key is to match your services to the customers. Why try to operate in a mainstream, high volume market if your business is structured towards providing a personal or bespoke service? Equally, businesses that are built around high volume tend to operate better with a narrow or clearly defined range of services. Would you ask Tesco’s to supply your wedding cake?

It is also challenging to communicate flexibility/service needs to staff and it can turn into a nightmare to maintain as staff turnover. I’ve seen examples where drivers have been told that for clients A, B and C they must use a client name board but for client D they need to use a chauffeur company name board and for client E they need to use an unbranded name board. That becomes an impossible ask for 100’s of drivers to get right 100% of the time. The options are to either make the client offering less flexible and use a ‘standard’ name board, or to put in place systems to tell the driver which type of name board is required. Your IT system can restrict you, or enable you to be flexible and offer a wider range of services.

So, anyone can be a supplier to any size of business but playing to your strengths and your client’s needs will give the best match and that usually means a successful relationship.

– Graeme Whiting

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