A blog by Steve Johnson, Regional Operations Manager (North)

Ask any business leader the secret of success and you’ll probably get a similar response… Whether it’s selling the right product or service, having strong market demand, or delivering great customer service, there are many ways the world of business seeks to remain competitive.

This is easily said when your business is already well established but what if you are new to the industry and trying to make your mark?  And what if you are venturing in to this for the first time?  You know you have the ambition, drive and enthusiasm to succeed, but you might need some support along the way to navigate your way through the corporate world.

This is why I’m so proud, as a Landmarc employee, to be part of X-Forces’ ‘Big Business Supporting Small Business’ campaign.  As one of X-Forces’ original corporate members, we have seen the organisation grow enormously, from enabling its first 100 business start-ups to its thousandth just a few weeks ago.

Big Business Supporting Small Business
Regional Operations Manager (North) Steve Johnson (right), attends the launch of the X-Forces North East Region’s ambassador programme with Richard Tucker, Managing Director of AAA Caring Caretaker Limited (left), an X-Forces beneficiary and Landmarc supplier.

The company helps ex-military personnel transition to civilian life, nurturing entrepreneurial ambition and helping to support start-ups. In fact, X-Forces has proven that businesses from the Armed Forces community will play a significant role in the UK economy, with the businesses it has supported having over a 90 per cent success rate, which far exceeds the national average.

It was through this partnership that I found myself at the recent launch of the North East Region’s new ambassador programme, an exciting challenge which Richard Tucker, Managing Director of AAA Caring Caretaker Limited, one of our local suppliers and an X-Forces beneficiary, has also accepted.  Held on board HMS Calliope in Gateshead, the event celebrated the actual and positive contribution being made by ‘Big Business’ in local regions to companies such as AAA and other X-Forces entrepreneurs.

And it got me thinking about the nature of business and how the corporate world could benefit greatly by developing more mutually beneficial relationships with its suppliers; especially those that come from a military background.

Working at Landmarc, we all believe strongly that it is our duty to support our Forces; whether it’s providing the best training facilities for our serving troops or, providing help and advice when personnel return to civilian life.  Our Landmarc 100 scheme, for example, is available to support rural entrepreneurs with both start-up funding as well as business mentoring and is an area that we are looking to develop further with X-Forces to enable more ex-military to benefit, if they meet the criteria.

Yet, providing this level of support to new start-ups should never be delivered out of sympathy, a sense of duty or for altruistic reasons.  If big business is indeed going to support small business, it needs to be for the mutual benefit of both parties.

According to X-Forces, each year ‘between 12,000 to 15,000 individuals leave the Armed Forces taking with them a set of skills including leadership, entrepreneurialism, innovation and a serious work ethic which can be applied to the commercial world.’

These are precisely the skill sets we require to deliver our contractual obligations in managing the MOD National Training Estate, working with individuals and businesses that understand the unique nature of the environment in which we operate.  It is, by definition, something we can do for each other.  We receive the expert service delivery we require and our supplier gets the benefit of working as part of a larger supply chain, helping to foster relationships with other, larger organisations.

Big business? Small business? Whatever the size, it’s all business and we can all play a part in ensuring its success.