Small businesses are driven by their individuals and what an individual does is always under the spotlight. In small businesses, individuals are under pressure to get a great job done each and every time, which can lead to a level of satisfaction that is difficult to obtain in big companies.

The immediacy, dynamism and enthusiasm of these individuals is what makes small business so intriguingly brilliant.

Literally anything is possible - decisions can be made and normal rules broken to deliver solutions to business issues within minutes, hours, days or months instead of the eternity often taken by mediocre, large organisations. In small business, people matter more and this gives a real competitive edge.

As a small company we can interact more closely with consumers. Today's well-informed shoppers are put off by the impersonal nature of large multinational businesses.

Mark Cuddigan Retail sales director Dormen Foods

Our business started out supplying four- and five-star hotels with nut mixes for their bars. We were able to offer bespoke mixes because we roast in small batches and mix by hand. Some years ago the chef at Claridges asked us for an unusual mix, which we delivered within a week.

Supplying hotels with this level of service is still a core part of our business, although inevitably as we have grown we have mechanised some aspects of the process. Key to this has been investing in machinery to enable us to increase production while maintaining the same quality and service.

Our retail brand, which is stocked in Waitrose, Sainsbury's and Tesco, offers the same quality of nuts and snacks as supplied to the hotels. It has grown enormously in the last 10 years but we are still able to do smaller production runs for hotels and niche retailers because our factory is flexible. We supply only the premium end of the market and pack only under our own brand.