There is no denying that, especially compared to its European counterparts, the UK economy is currently enjoying an enviable growth rate. That said, however, we should not be resting on our collective laurels - Britain's international competitiveness offers markedly less cause for celebration and there is, to put it mildly, considerable room for improvement.
To address this shortfall, it is essential that the adoption of best practice and the drive for business excellence be actively promoted and spread throughout the business community. And, while this is a prescription that is of equal relevance to all businesses, across all sectors and of all sizes, it is of perhaps greater significance to the smaller companies.
When we refer to and reiterate the need to begin benchmarking and learning from the best, it is not really the likes of BT or Shell we're talking to: big business has the resources to go over its activities with a fine tooth comb and, even if it has not yet done so, will at least have a good idea of what it should be doing to achieve excellence.