Saturday, 31 January 2009

Rumour And Misconception

‘Pub Talk’, I call it. That pernicious weed called rumour that grows every time it is repeated. Chinese Whispers is a game that is used in Junior Management training courses to illustrate the same point. I have met it often.
‘My mate got a grant for his new business of £50000’. No he didn’t.  At least, not just like that. There are grants available, and some areas are more eligible than others. Usually they are match funded which means that the Business owners had to stump up more than that towards the project.

Not every business is eligible.  The origination of that idea is sensible even if the practical application is sometimes questionable.  The idea is to support industries and areas in particular need.  Unfortunately the same thinking also leads one to suppose that an area rich in grants is poor in business.

Not every industry is supported either. Some are more favoured than others and some not at all. It helps if your business is not mobile, has big machinery, and mostly not a retail business and is above Newport and Cardiff on the map and to the left of Monmouthshire.  But that is also a misleading generalisation and not exclusively the case.

More Pub Talk involves the Banks. I went to a meeting hosted by the South Wales Chamber of commerce and chaired by the A.M. for Newport East, John Griffiths. What could have been a Bank bashing session between the few local businesses that spared the time to attend and the Local Business Managers saw me supporting the Banks in their assertions that they are still open for good business with supporting plans and a well thought out business case. When you think about that nothing has changed much there.

The excesses of Bank Lending that form the target of the Pub Talk for Banks was done by the secondary lenders trying to gain an edge in the market by accepting the fringe offerings of business. That was made worse by the clever money market folk trading in debt without investigating the foundations for it in the old fashioned way. Youngsters without the historical perspective, not the local Business Managers who are still doing what they have always done. I noted looks of confusion when they were accused of not lending, of whipping facilities away without warning and all the other stories going around. 

Any case that does seem to have elements of sharp practice like that should have further investigation. Bank Facilities expire, as arranged.  In my experience there are always those customers who abuse the system and then protest loudly when their cheque is bounced. The Bank will act on what it believes to be the up to date circumstances. Administrative error is there as an occasional possibility. So too is the case that many customers believe the Bank has some sort of psychic ability to understand what hasn’t been arranged.

All this illustrates a major point. Be it grants, banks  or any of the Business engine room finance and resources, a Business needs help to deal with it all. Running a business involves a number of different disciplines and it is hard to be good at it all and have the time and the expertise to cover it all. That applies to established business just as much as to new business.

A sensible relationship with a consultant offering knowledge and experience in these areas can be worth its weight. Employ an extra pair of management hands with Bob Shepherd Associates.

No comments:

Post a Comment