A lone bee collecting pollen

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A lone bee will die. Without the support of the colony, it doesn't have the means to survive, how can it, it's just a tiny bee. The lack of food and shelter will finally seal its fate as it becomes consumed by the competing forces of nature, lost forever.

But bees don't live alone. Evolution has created a system where thousands of individual bees, each one tailored to perform a specific task, all work together. By contributing towards the hive, each bee has a guarantee not only to survive but to thrive.

Organisations adopt a similar approach, albeit with a very different reward structure — hundreds of employees each with their specialist skill all working towards a common purpose. By copying the nature of a bee colony, employing skilled individuals responsible for specific tasks, companies can perform with greater efficiency and thrive in their respective industries.

But what about those of us who have turned our backs on the corporation. The micro-companies and sole traders. How do we thrive? How do we benefit from the support of a large organisation when there isn't one?

As the director of a thriving local ironing services company, I often wonder. How do we benefit from the support of the group when no group exists. Like the solitary bee, are we doomed to fail? Absolutely not, but I've come to understand that's the wrong question. The right question, the question all sole traders and micro-companies should be asking is, are we thriving?

In today's modern world, customers are more demanding than ever before. Fulfilling the individual needs of our customers is one area where we certainly are thriving, using size and agility to our advantage. However, when it comes to matters of finance, marketing, sales and strategic planning, most ironing service companies don't fare so well. The reason is apparent, but the solution may surprise you.

With limited resources, a local ironing company can't produce a slick marketing campaign or create an effective sales funnel. Even if they used outside resources, it's impossible to justify the costs. But what if the fees were shared between other local ironing companies, like the bee, what if ironing companies worked together for mutual benefit?

You are not in competition with your competitors. Opportunities are plentiful, but the way we run our business is inefficient. Separate companies acting in isolation is not an effective way to services all the customers in a particular area. If we came together to share information, distribute costs, act as a large corporation when it suits while retaining the individual and personal touch our customers desire. If we work as a colony of bees, then we can all truly thrive.

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