Blog Archive


Sometimes going unnoticed, local traders’ offerings are available all year round.

Building on research by American Express, who founded the initiative in the U.S. a few years ago, which illustrated there were benefits to a community and its sense of well-being when support of local businesses had been embraced.  There’s a simple message; Use It Or Lose It.

In the run up to Christmas this year, 6th December is the day for us all to show our support of the Indie by teaming up with them, doing some local shopping and then keeping up the mindset.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

I love percentages, they tell you nothing.

Big companies can be found looking to their top line (sales turnover) and reaching to their bottom line via the percentage routes of scale and margins. Whereas the top line for the smaller business is looking to their bottom line: the net profit.

Percentage margins for sales growth aren’t the profit amount; neither is the profit amount a percentage of margins for profit.

Big companies think about their profit margins. When revenue is down, and margins are hit, job cuts are made. The smaller business owner has been known to fail in looking at their margins as a business metric, so the percentages can overtake. Their response? Sometimes it’s to mimic larger companies. They turn to wanting to increase volumes (looking to higher percentages) rather than looking at the percentage (or profit margin) on each unit, sale, or invoice. Or, making staff cuts before looking at what the staff member is capable of as value to the business (percentage of sales turnover).

The measurement tells you everything.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

We have a digital world, with a digital economy and it’s as flummoxing as it is fascinating.

Within its lexicon are words which sound as though they belong on the Starship Enterprise: firewalls, encryption and the like, I had very worthwhile day away from the office  amongst a world of data protection.

There’s a lot of white noise (and likely even more data), data breaching, data loss and of course a digital currency floating around. There are huge numbers associated (Ebay instructing 200m users to change their passwords) and changes to regulation (EU regulations) is on the way. When it’s possible to ‘lose’ a plane (MH370 ), some data appears useless. When it’s possible to pinpoint a place in an ocean that a lost plane might be found, some of it is of great value.

As an observation, for those of us not directly involved, it’s a challenge to understand how most data is gleaned and applied to become relevant information….. and can seem like it’s from another planet…. a bit like finance.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

He’d said, at the World Economic Forum“Once goal setting is done, the Central Bank needs to be more determined toward output and there must a better understanding with set goals and the tolerance level of banking operations” and being in a bad – but improving – place is, according to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, a good problem… but a problem.

Using, instead of the usual nautical associations for this island nation, Carney delivered a speech using the world cup as an analogy: there was no ‘even keel’,  instead the agenda was ‘goal setting’.

Falling unemployment has reached a five year low, but The Bank’s decision about when to raise interest rates from 0.5% will continue to depend on the amount of ‘spare capacity’.  The ‘slack’; those companies not running to full capacity, or people not working as much as they’d like, being the measurement.

So, who’s pitching the goals?

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014


“What’s that all about?” said (yet another) incredulous business bank customer who was shocked at the disappearance of their bank manager’s discretionary aura.

We all know the routine: Effective funder relationships are the way to go. But, lenders have been on a diet, and if they’re on a diet the sweet jar doesn’t get opened for all their customers.

Who gets a cookie from the cookie jar when belts are being tightened by fettered discretion?

 Apparently business finance has a partner to the challenges of inflexibility and the leach of box-ticking over discretion has slid into some mortgage lenders ‘over-interpreting’ new regulations.

Discretion is the basic requirement behind a well run businesses reasoning…… Need I say more?

Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

Ahhh. …The weather is being kind….   `Birds flying high…… Sun in the sky…..’

After another winter of unclear economic messages, as blossoms bloom, fresh thoughts can begin to spring up for businesses. Recession and distress can thaw a little as plans, accounts and emails get a spring clean.

Browser histories are cleared…. `It’s a new dawn, It’s a new day, It’s a new life…..’

The weather is getting warmer, the sun is staying out longer and we’re feeling refreshed. We want ice-cream instead of  hot drinks. … `And I’m feeling good….’

Cabriolets spring forth with their tops down, layers of clothing are cast aside. Baby bunnies, little lambs and diddly ducklings!  Bugs start multiplying….. mosquitoes hatch….and allergy season is here!

Jacuzzi frogs. Spring we’ve missed you?

Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

For a bank which had the resources to be ethical and promoted itself as ‘ethical’  – it’s fallen short.  Acquiring a load of toxic debt along with Britannia Building Society and thus far avoiding being wound up, it’s been a painful year for the mutually owned Co-Op Group.

And it’s CEO has now been cited as stating it’s “Ungovernable”  (possibly whilst he slid his resignation across the boardroom table).

Can ethics be re-invented or is there little to Smile about?

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF © 2014

I wonder how many will choke on their coffee when they hear of  the brilliant idea that Banksy recently set up?

A market stall  in New York, part of his contribution illustrating Art without a price tag, filled with original work at $60 a pop….. and few takers. Marvellous.

Collectors for profit, missing-out to those genuinely willing to give it a go, and value the offer on the market stall by enjoying the aesthetics for their true value over perceived value, is a rare thing indeed.

Image credit: pasukaru76  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013 ©

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