Are copy imports a good thing?

The trend for low-priced imports from China may be seen as an attractive alternative to buying established brands from national distributors, but it can be fraught with problems.

At first glance it seems like a win/win, the customer gets a good deal on a product and the supplier makes a healthy mark up which is all well and good until the item develops a fault or fails altogether. Continue reading “Are copy imports a good thing?”

How’s Your Entrepreneurial Mojo?

UK plc, show more confidence and regain your competitive edge.

Britain has an abundance of talent and is inherently creative and inventive, just take a look at the inventions that changed the world and the globally recognised achievements in music, art and advertising.

But our creative spark appears to have been eroding over recent decades. There is much rhetoric from political parties and initiatives, such as “Making Britain the most enterprising nation in the world”, but as ever, it comes down to the nations real doers, the entrepreneurs, thinking, just how can we get the country moving again?

Clear regulatory obstacles

I know I’m not alone in wanting these cleared for a start. They not only block growth but can also lead to unnecessary, energy sapping, time consuming litigation. From meetings and discussions I have with business owners, the single biggest barrier to small businesses hiring more staff is the fear of employment law and the way tribunals apply it.

Let’s face it; the majority of business owners know their business is only as good as its people. If a person is not good for the business, surely it is not unreasonable to let them go? Many excellent, people orientated businesses often end up paying disproportionate amounts to undeserving cases. The result often being small firms making payouts, which may prevent pay rises being secured or bonuses to the majority that deserve it. Or even worse for the UK economy, prevent additional staff being employed.

What happens in team sports? Substituted more training or released….exactly the way it should be. It’s a part of the game and business should be no different? No-one releases players that add value to the Team effort.

Access to Effective Support Networks

Such networks are invaluable for Business owners, providing opportunities for new firms to learn tips from successful entrepreneurs. Mentoring, business coaching and seminars can all boost business. Such initiatives will undoubtedly help grow companies this year, and they are more likely to take on additional staff as a result.

Focus on Profit Margins

Finally, entrepreneurs must be proud to focus on profit margin. The reality is that healthy margins enable a business to absorb growing costs, such as research, development, employ new staff and build an effective management team. Without margin, businesses either cannot grow or run the risk of failure.

We’re too ready to congratulate those with top-line sales growth and a successful exit. Instead, why not cheer and celebrate those who have the confidence to price up, make great margins and be in business for the long-term? It’s these businesses that will thrive and survive the rollercoaster economic cycles in the long run. Entrepreneurs must take the lead and show more confidence and commitment in what they offer.

UK Business….get your mojo back, lead the way and we may yet again become the most enterprising nation in the world.

The Art of Light Travel

Far be it for a 42 year old Dad of two teenage daughters to offer any fashion advice, but if like me you find yourself living out of a suitcase from time to time and are rubbish at packing, this may be an answer for you.

Packing for one trip involving two or more destinations with different climates and different purposes is never easy…..and I am useless at packing at the best of times. I usually leave it until the morning I travel, in a frantic hurry and with no natural daylight to really be certain of what I’m picking up to put in the suitcase.  Add in the bombardment of emails and texts all whilst being reminded by my loving wife that I should have left by now, you can guess the likely result!

What looked acceptable at 4.30am now looks far from it when you get into the hotel and realise you have an ‘unusual’ outfit for the occasion…..and I’m not really into looking more unusual than necessary in business.

This got me looking at what could be a ‘fails-safe’ wardrobe that I could rely on to get me from bar to boardroom and places in between anywhere in the industrial world and all fit into a regular size suitcase.

Warning – This may not be suitable for non-middle aged men

  1. Navy Blazer – shorter length that works for formal and casual occasions….so I’m told.
  2. Grey crew-neck sweater – perfect with jeans and stylish with chinos.
  3. White slim-fit cotton shirt – a classic! Works well with everything.
  4. Basingstoke Football Scarf – saves on packing bulky coats and doubles as a pillow when on flights & buses.
  5. Black loafers –more versatile and formal than brown.
  6. Trainers – just in case you find time for the gym or a run!
  7. Black leather belt – Works well with the rest of the wardrobe.
  8. Black jacket – Ideal for T-shirt & jeans but also acceptable with collared shirt and tie. Traditional Harrington is ideal!
  9. Blue tie – Dark, plain and slim style.
  10. Blue jeans – or black. Slim fit if you can get into them!
  11. White T-Shirt – a classic! Fitted is ideal. White or black with small chest pocket is useful.
  12. Chinos – Work well for formal occasions when worn with the blazer. Equally good for casual.

There you have it…. One travel friendly, all climate, all occasion wardrobe that fits into a standard size suitcase.

And it’s even wife friendly…..she can now pack in advance without me.