Blog Archive

Archive for: May

With the hokey-cokey playing out in Greece, banks are set to lose money if it leaves the euro, but the effects could be felt on home soils worldwide.

Apparently contingency plans are being made for such an event, which presumably support the banks in damage limitation against a further ‘credit crunch’  however, any losses faced by the banks from defaults filter down. As they are deemed unwilling to lend to one another, British banks are therefore  susceptible to a Greek exit.

The squeaking wheel doesn’t always get the grease…. Sometimes it gets replaced.  Will they or won’t they?

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)




Listening to Robin Dunbar’s explanation of love might have been a useful exercise for the seemingly doomed retail chain that is Clintons. For, as he pointed out, the intensity to which the human species falls in love, is unique amongst the animal kingdom… and being as we’re the species with purses and wallets, there is a card for every occasion along the full gamut road; from head over heels to finding the shoulder to cry on, with a myriad endless emotions, able to put to verse, in between.

A Corporate Board, enabled to hold 25% market control, squeeze suppliers and having sometime mark-ups of 1000%,  leaves little room for sympathy, especially when their decision making responsibility impacts on employees, and, at a time for small enterprise’s daily dealings being amongst competitive adverse challenges.

Buying-up, as a business model, to corner a segment of a market, without a strategy, is similar to the old plate spinning analogy; bad management… not in tandem… ultimately…crash!

I was asked once, by a visiting manager to a Clinton’s branch, Have you found everything you’re looking for?, as he displayed his prowess to the shop manager. No, I replied, You don’t stock writing paper. The explanation was short; There’s no market for it!  My suggestions, You could try a small display area over there, or an online service… were given the vein of computer-says-no.  And, when the computer dictates in a vertical chain, it’s unlikely anyone is enabled to bring ideas or thoughts about products and services, as they might in the flat system as encouraged by many small businesses. Presumably Clinton’s haven’t listened to their staff, they certainly didn’t listen to their customers (online came too late), and it seems likely they weren’t listening to the markets.

Bad Board management isn’t unfortunately new therefore there’s some irony to profits declining from the once market leader who had the tandem role card: It’s Over!

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Meeting Customer Service: What a Difference a Day Makes

Actually, more likely what a difference several days make, but the basic concept remains the same.  About a year ago I blogged about  the missed opportunities  for micro businesses and small enterprises that I’d encountered because of their confusing business promotions and disappointing customer service; both disengaging me as a customer and disappointed me as a business owner. Or maybe, upon reflection, I’m misconstruing bad business practice for cultural determination: the English do seem to make a habit of stubborn resistance throughout history.

Talking with a friend, of his passion for sailing, he had a determined attitude in resisting my resistance to spending unnecessary time in wild water; as his sailing companion, he persisted in my not needing to be Jacques Cousteau (little did he know of my Kayaking days involving full Inuit seal suit before any Eskimo roll; emergency or planned!)

My resistance brought about his recalling tests of endurance and the first Golden Globe race, the 1968 non-stop single-handed sail around the world. At that time, as a merchant engineer, he was aboard bigger vessels to which the adventurous Sunday Times sponsored prize was of great interest, inspired by Francis Chichester’s  circumnavigation, he, as many at the time, was excited by bold details of courageous solo staying-power.

The undertaking was pitched to sailors who were not independently wealthy and likely unresisting to a challenge; they all needed sponsorship to sail, or big prize money at the end, and at a time when the public were hungry for gossip and adventure stories, an ideal time for a newspaper to sponsor such an event. With any starting date between June and October, two prizes were on offer; one for first round the world and one for fastest time. Of the nine entrants only one managed to finish; Robin Knox-Johnson: one yacht was dismasted, one floundered; Donald Crowhurst is alleged to have entered the race to stave off bankruptcy, all the others retired.

Which brings me back to business: Although they don’t always make it known, customers like to understand what is on offer, holding out little resistance to convenience. Whilst any business holding out, stubbornly resisting the changes to its marketplace needs either to be incredibly wealthy and able to support itself through the changes, or, with no `Plan B’, very accepting of their future potential, coming in with a chorus of que sera sera.

One year on, out of desperation, not choice, I returned to the pharmacy I’d blogged about. I was offered a privacy booth for direct consultation with the pharmacist, there was a new easy accessible layout, and approachable, discreet assistant amongst the changes to the almost by-the-book fresh approach. But it worked!  An almost unrecognisable heavy rainfall hit gloomy 0.2% shrinking GDP Britain was on the other side of the exit door, to which this satisfied customer came over all Arnie-like and looked back saying, less Terminator and more determinate ‘I’ll be back!’.

The point I’m making, in the time it could probably take to round Cape Horn, and not even considering the metaphors attached relating to small business and small boats being put out to sea, is that, it is only by default I’d became aware of this particular businesses new offerings because they, having succumbed to any resistance to change, haven’t yet shouted it from the rooftops to their potential customers.

In the intervening twelve months I’ve come across other businesses, from other industry types, who practice the same undirected or misdirected attention towards their customers. How much business have they lost, not only from me, because their message still isn’t out there?

As for me, the message was loud and clear, that with support, I’ll make it onto, not necessarily into, the Orwell.  

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)






Old news, the UK is in recession (again)  as the Office of National Statistics said Britain’s GDP fell 0.2% in the first quarter of 2012 after contracting by 0.3% at the end of 2011, forecasts were upset by a big fall in construction output and industrial output. Therefore, with a sinking-ship type economy, apt news via an Australian  whose planning on constructing Titanic II  in late 2013, with a maiden voyage planned for 2016.  With an interesting and pragmatic approach towards his new state of the art venture, that only a billionaire could have in such times: “of course it will sink if you put a hole in it”.

The Taxpayers stake in RBS could be sold off  before the next general election but, according to the Treasury, not before “it delivers value for money for the taxpayer”.

The Bank of England  are on the move with 1,000 FSA staff  from Canary Wharf to JP Morgan offices for their Prudential Regulatory Authority role.

The latest BoE Trend in Lending Report showed that bank lending to businesses was down 3% over the latest 12 months; with lending to small businesses down by approximately 10% in the latest 12 months.

Landlords and their tenants are being considered for a Government charter  which could include legal fire and safety standards, and rules governing anti-social behaviour, as part of a central standardised document of landlord/tenant responsibly.

Google UK is to launch its financial comparison service  for credit cards and savings accounts.

Diamond Jubilee Year sees the Queen’s speech 9 May  and will likely to focus on Bills passed and those in progress; the Finance Bill regarding tax measures and stamp duty, the Financial Services Bill which aims to overhaul financial regulation, the Localism Act  which introduced local authorities to being able to grant discounts on business rates (provided they are funded locally) and the Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill  that aims to monitor the grocery supply chain.

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)




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