Blog Archive


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 ©

Just like children, businesses need stimulation.

They can’t run themselves or improve themselves but, with the right encouragement, businesses, the same as a child, will respond and with the right type of attention, they’ll produce results.

In the Government report Growing Your Business  - A Guide For Small Firms, Lord Young talking about micro firms’ potential, notes “in the last recession in the early nineties, small firms were in debt for over four years”.   Now, five years since the banking crisis,  a time during which, some small firms have had  ‘money in the bank’  and  ‘large corporates are sitting on over £720 billion’,  confidence in some area sectors of business remains elusive.

A link between unstable or chaotic environments and the effect of disruption is increasingly being explored as an effect on children, and showing as a negative impact. And, there is a necessity for children to have an opportunity to learn through play, say some education ‘experts’;  they shouldn’t start school until ‘age six or seven’,  allowing time before adding, in effect, ‘chaos’ to natural development.

Chaos breeds uncertainty; it’s consistency that tames chaos and calms things down.

Image credit:   Randy Heinitz   Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013 ©

I was reminded this week about the needless risks that some business owners take.

How the person looking to start a second business had come about their first business wasn’t fully clear to me but, with a few years experience behind them, business number two, along with a partner, was being embarked upon.

Ghost crutches (shareholders and directors) had supported that first business through turbulence; giving sufficient funding for it to remain relatively stable for a couple of years, the ‘ghosts’ were not of the mindset to take on another startup with one of their own.  As unmoving was deemed an adequate position for business number one, business number two became a broken leg with no crutches to support it.

Firstly, there was an equal commitment from the partners missing, additionally, it was being undercoated with delusion and all the time, the seesaw of business funding had left money-raising firmly on the ground for money-spending to soar ever skywards, to make money raising ‘heavier’ and ‘heavier’. How it could be sustained with unreliable methods was unfathomable – this was no way to start the business, definitely no way to keep it going and absolutely no way to run a business.

Without finance there is no funding, and because I had a solution that was reliable, it was even more uncomfortable watching these people on their crash course as they cut off their oxygen supply. They would lose their potentially good business before it had even got out of the starting gates.

Image credit: Bryan Mills  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013 ©

Small business owners are once again showing the little guy will take on the big guy, and this time it’s by vouching for their business.

Clubbing together, some independents are offering Loyalty Scheme deals digitally, re-directing business via mobile or smart cards, and offering the same rights for faithful local buyers that national schemes have.

Directed for best effect, executed appropriately and well, the customer experience is available as a big opportunity for a small business.

Sell to their needs, not yours – Earl G. Graves

Image credit: Hotash  Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013

An ex-FBI Agent recently told me that information is taken from businesses by unhappy employees  – Can’t argue with that!

Nor can I argue with the UK’s SME Finance Monitor Report citing businesses’ biggest obstacle for the coming 12 months is facing the current economic climate…. and, (something I’d positively encourage) is that a majority are choosing to pay-down debts rather than take on more borrowing.

But, as business’ time-line is controlled by one major factor - an ability to adapt - the caveat is, without balancing short-term restraint with long-term viability, sustaining a business on the medium-term is likely to be effected…..and any long-term value is lost.

Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013

Getting to grips with technology can be a problem, being concerned about security; Website attacks, emails going missing, computer viruses - All are understandable. But businesses practicing without email….. How?

What is the reasoning behind a resistant micro or smaller business to an email account?

My flabber has been  gasted by perfectly serious businesses telling me they don’t have email, with my mind sent mostly reeling by those with smart phones and pc’s, laptops and dongles, dishes with satellite and broadband with sleigh-bells (slight exaggeration).

It isn’t a secret formula, I genuinely don’t know how those, without access to the magic juice of internet, manage to do business – especially with a retail element that incurs stockist and customer communication. Mobile point of sale must seem like War of the Worlds to them, or any who haven’t yet realised the low-cost entry potential to reaching customers.

Old fashioned Customer Service is strengthened with new technology.

Image credit: Sean MacEntee   Article credit: Copyright SUF 2013

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