When Natalie Ellis appeared on Dragons’ Den last year, pitching her Road Refresher non-spill dog bowl, all four of the investors knocked her back. “It’s a lifestyle business,” they claimed. “The Americans will eat you alive.” Famous last words.
My coach talks to me a lot about energy-sucking vampires. Having always been a company that is family owned and people focused, most of us in management have always tended to aim to have a sympathetic ear to staff problems and generally try and be very supportive to them. Probably being somewhat individual ourselves, we also have tended to employ fairly individual people – I particularly have a weakness for trying to sort out “the problem child”.
When politicians and business leaders attended this week’s Global Entrepreneurship Week at the British Library in London, the topic on everyone’s minds was the importance of entrepreneurship to economic recovery. How best to support new and aspiring entrepreneurs?
I recently talked to the owner of a card and gift shop in the Midlands. As usual we were discussing finance and her ongoing cash flow requirements. While she has not suffered as severely as many in retail, and has the luxury of owning the freehold on her small shop, she is fearful of the upcoming Christmas season.
Apart from getting three sub five-year-old kids to bed on time, my toughest gig this week was compering the formidable Lord Sugar for a live Q&A.
Have had cause to reflect on the effects of bad customer service twice in the last 24 hours.
The Forum of Private Businesses (FPB) has found that red tape is costing small businesses a sickening £12bn per year, and wasting 37 hours per month.