Posted: Fri 13th Nov 2015
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella sat down with an audience of entrepreneurs this week to share how he is still inspired by how small businesses make sales and grow.
Nadella appeared at an Enterprise Nation session at Microsoft's Future Decoded event in London where he offered insights into the way Microsoft, now in its fourth decade, retains its entrepreneurial spirit and seeks to empower small businesses to grow and thrive.
"Some of us who've grown, forget to recognise things that are small," he told Enterprise Nation founder Emma Jones. "The reality is nothing grows in billions of dollars, it grows a dollar at a time. We have an obsession about saying 'what are the leading indicators of future success?'
"Let's say we introduce a new product, we want to learn from [small businesses] about how you behave with the first sale, how you take the data from your first success and cultivate it so that you have second and third bigger successes.
"That notion of learning from your initial steps is so much of a premium for us that we need to culturally encourage it. These leading indicators of how small businesses use data and feedback, and your ability to have empathy and contact with customers can teach us a lot about how to be at scale, agile, nimble and in touch with our customers."
Nadella also touched on how start-ups can grow into scale-ups.
"What needs to be celebrated is the fact that there is a new technology paradigm, a new way to work, a new way to create things, new ways to access risk capital, and hopefully many of these will scale and lead back to economic growth."
When asked about the role of technology in helping small businesses to do business overseas, Nadella shared a story of a start-up he met in Chile that has developed an irrigation system for arid areas. The founder discovered he had a market in Israel and is now expanding with the help of Israeli investment.
"I thought 'wow'," Nadella said, "that wouldn't have been possible for this entrepreneur to have found the new market and then have the ability to get the risk capital to scale but for new technology, the Cloud, connectivity and trade."
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Clare Barclay, general manager, small and midmarket solutions and partner group, Microsoft UK, said: "At Microsoft, we have the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs and start-ups across the UK to help achieve their aspirations. In many cases, technology plays a crucial role in accelerating their business growth and realising their full potential. That is why we have built a strong partnership with our friends at Enterprise Nation and are excited to offer their members a simple technology solution to support their business growth."
Microsoft is a supporter of Enterprise Nation's Go and Grow Online campaign which encourages more businesses to get online and supports existing internet traders to grow. For tips, events and special offers, go to this page.