Corporates: What SMEs can Learn from them

When Eliud Kipchoge pulled off his epic sub 2-hour marathon he was hailed as a hero. He pushed himself to the limit and achieved something no other human on the planet had been able to do.

But then, well, he did get a lot of help, didn’t he? He didn’t do it the hard way like most of us working through our NHS Couch to 5k Apps.

  • He chose an ‘easy’ course in Vienna, Austria.
  • He had Nike Zoom Alphafly shoes that helped him go faster. After much debate and tight rules to follow, Vaporflys have been approved for use by the Olympic Committee (watch out for next Olympics!)
  • He had a rotating cast of pacers shielding him from the wind, providing support and encouragement.
  • Cyclists provided water and fuel at all times.

In short, he was set up for success. All he had to do was perform to his absolute best.

Them and us

As an SME in surveying watching corporates reach new heights of success, it can feel a lot like a Sunday runner eyeballing Kipchoge – it simply isn’t possible for the likes of us. There’s a growing ‘them and us’ culture that helps no one.

Corporates operate with a clear goal and focus to be the best, achieve awards, take on the best clients, and ultimately earn the most profit while having fun and sharing it on social media. Social impact, wellbeing and corporate social responsibility are sprinkled throughout. Customers are always, at the heart of what they do. It is a tightly controlled framework.

To be a corporate surveyor means to conform to a clear employee/employer relationship within that framework. Expectations and standards. Trained to do the job in hand it means, they can move quickly, sleekly and get the job done contributing to daily, monthly, annual and regional targets.

“Corporates do straight sausages, not curly ones”

And to quote a former peer and mentor of mine, ‘corporates do straight sausages, not curly ones.’ While their appetite to risk may fluctuate with the market, it’s all about keeping it simple and uncomplicated. Quirks increase the risk of an error, complication or delay to the ever-tight turnaround time of a report agreed by contract.

Corporates have central teams to look after the fluffy stuff – the selling of surveys, the terms agreed and automated. The ‘post valuation queries’ designed to irritate and distract all surveyors. The client relationships that must be tended with care. The complaints which are often never seen by the surveyor.

Technology investment is HUGE. Systems can’t be tested on 400+ surveyors and central teams until the system is set up for that many. Similarly, controlling the output of so many different characters to provide a consistent service means the corporates have invested in technical risk teams and digital virtual surveyors.

The points of failure can be multiple, hard to identify and difficult to recover from.

Corporates are often heavily criticised by SMEs for their working practices and attitudes. (How many inspections a day?!) They can do this because everyone plays their part, to their best and most efficient.

Corporate surveying firms serve a purpose

As a general rule, a consistent and reliable service, easier for larger clients to manage with one point of contact. If you can play the game, working for a corporate can be lucrative if the market is right and it can be a great place for career progression, recognition and teamwork. It is a great way to get experience and get a volume of properties under your belt and grow in general confidence.

And just like apples and pears, chalk and cheese, SMEs and Corporate surveyors are different and serve a particular palate. Eliud Kipchoge epic run was not part of an official event or games. It was an exhibition event, a self-timed trial, not a world record. His goal was to see what he could do, not how far his sponsor or organisation could go or achieve.

Conscious network design

The man was a machine in control of all around him. He got support to get him where he needed and wanted to be. SMEs may not have the numbers in terms of bodies of support or finances, but they can learn from Corporates how to build and develop their businesses the way they want.

By consciously and intentionally designing your networks and business you can achieve great things and enjoy it along the way. It starts with recognising where your strength, your super powers lie and either outsourcing tasks, roles and responsibilities or finding places, like The Surveyor Hub where you can ask the question and get the support you need.

Because where you have the most support in your life, you will have the most success.

Follow The Surveyor Hub to find the support you need and how we can help.

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