Small Business Saturday Blog

Our purpose and the importance of small business

Friday, May 15 at 15:07Inspiration | Small Business Saturday

‘People of Portobello’ is a lifestyle project creating a photographic library, with supporting interviews, to capture the community and culture of the Portobello Road area in London.

It is intended as a celebration of a wonderful collection of people and it is also a message on the value of community, and diversity within that community. We believe in the importance of understanding and immersing ourselves in what is different and new. Celebrating examples of this, such as Portobello Road, is one way to send that message.

Small independent businesses play a massively important role within any local community, but even more so in Portobello. They focus and retain investment within an area, and offer cultural value to customers and communities through original and varied experiences.

A large proportion of our interviewees are small business owners and we love to celebrate what they do and why they do it in Portobello Road - we should all try to take the opportunity to support local businesses whenever we can!

Some lessons from Portobello Road for other small businesses


Small businesses can benefit from planning strategically about how to make the most of their unique position. There are many competitive advantages to being a small business and in Portobello Road I’ve found that the most successful small businesses have taken these into consideration:

Move Quickly  

Your advantage of being small means you can make decisions, implement them and move forward quickly; whether they be strategic, marketing or operational. Make the most of that.

Be ‘Close’ to the Customer

In a small organisation, you, as the decision maker, have the advantage of seeing your customer face to face regularly. Use this interaction as an opportunity to understand, and meet, your customer’s needs.

Be Unique 

Ultimately customers want to try new things and experiences but may have fallen out of the habit. Re-introduce them to the value of ‘the new’, whilst remaining accessible and approachable.


Simon Hardy, People of Portobello

Simon and the People of Portobello team will be joining the Inspire series on 16th May and conducting interviews and photography of the event: @PoPortobello 

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