Belfast Telegraph

Come on ants, let's get together so we can avoid being squashed by those elephants

By Ron Immink

We risk being squashed by elephants. No, really. I read an article last week about all these 'elephants' stamping around threateningly - Germany, public sector wages, the eurozone crisis, deficits, budget cuts, (and I am sure we can come up with a few more). They're trying to squash us all.

This reminded me of a book I read a long time ago called The Elephant and The Flea, by Charles Handy. The book was way ahead of its time. It talked about the flexible, free agent moving outside the big corporations. A combination of Poke the Box by Seth Godin and Killing Giants by Stephen Denny.

There is also a book called The Ant and the Elephant which is about the intentional (the ant) and unintentional (elephant) mind and how we need to control the elephant to become good managers.

I'm getting sick and tired of 'elephant thinking' (mainly referring to the doom and gloom). So here is the good news. If you are a flea or an ant, it is difficult for the elephant to step on you. You are too small and too fast. Most of us are moving at the scale and speed of ants. Yes, elephants, as described in the article I read, are a nuisance, and you need to watch for the looming shadow, but they should NOT consume all of our thinking (or our media's).

As ants, we should think about which other ants we should and could work with, how we can all work together as ants, where to fly out to for our next nest, etc. You get the point.

Back to where to fly to, which is a bad segway to 'exporting' and our Business Live events. Where would you to fly to as an ant? Why don't you ask some other ants who have done some 'air miles'? Our event in the north west on February 2 will hear from small business owners who have had great success doing business outside Northern Ireland. Find out more at

Or, if you want to fly to Asia, watch out for the joint Ulster Bank, Invest NI and UK Trade and Investment Doing Business in Asia event at Riddel Hall, Belfast on February 10, at which experts from Invest NI and Ulster Bank's global parent company Royal Bank of Scotland will be on hand. More information is at: Remember Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull? When the ants pulled a human into their nest? I bet they could do it with an elephant too. Smallbusinesscan is kind of like one of these ant nests (in a good way). Join the army of ants and let's beat the elephants.

Here is the good news. If you are a flea or an ant, it is difficult for the elephant to step on you, you are too small and too fast