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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!

Ladders
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 ©


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