Lending…”my arse”: Small firms losing out on backing from major banks


Of course I cannot speak for anyone else but once I hear these words “The BBA said…” I feel instantly tense and irritated. I can only think that it is something to do with an intense dislike of being treated like an idiot. Particularly, by an organisation intent upon defending the indefensible at the expense of individuals and companies without whom they would be unable to continue to ply their trade.

I can remember the first time I felt this way. It was in the late 80’s when the then Manager of my local RBS told me that the branch was to close. It had come as a bit of a shock to him (an absolute gentleman by the name of Brain Peach) but he was “of an age” that he wasn’t too stressed about it – the same could not be said for all of his staff. To say that he was less than convincing when he delivered the HO message would be a sweeping understatement, can you figure out why?:

“In an effort to improve the service to local businesses, this branch is closing…”

I was much less cynical then but still marvelled at what I was being asked to believe. Nowadays, the banks have turned “opacity” and “spin” into a very expensive artform practised amongst themselves as well as with Regulators an customers!

Jim Royle
Image by Commonorgarden via Flickr

…the FSB also criticised the practice of some banks of calling in business loans, renewing them, and calling them “new lending”

…The Bank of England figures show lending to SMEs was £18.8bn in the third quarter, down from £20.5bn in the second quarter but higher than the first quarter’s £16.8bn. The BBA said the Merlin banks are “on track to meet their business lending commitments”. Defending the SME shortfall, it says: “The overall economic environment remains challenging and business demand remains weak.”

via Small firms losing out on backing from major banks – Herald Scotland | Business | Corporate & SME.

FT.com: Saving struggling start-ups


Support for aspiring entrepreneurs and small businesses is a really hot topic. Partly due to a recent report from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor but also the desperate need to rebuild our economy from the bottom up and to innovate our way to a more resilient future.

Laudable but the track record suggests it’s just more Political rhetoric and a failure to recognise that “top down” hasn’t worked, isn’t even being supported by the Banks we own and what remaining trust in an unnecessarily complex, convoluted and confusing process will, most likely, continues to diminish. Still I do believe that there are enough right-minded people with creative solutions that just need the right platform and backing CONTACT ME IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE VISION FOR THE FUTURE! Read more of this post

UK insurance are you listening yet?: “I am not an SME, you patronising ***!”


hardboiled business card

Image by hartless1 via Flickr

Robert Craven hits the nail on the head again! I read this and cringed on behalf of the UK insurance industry who view SME’s as the means to line their pockets…uuugh!

Most advertisements focusing on the small business market (banks, IT, software, HR services) are not trying to communicate with small businesses – they are not creating (or even attempting to create) a relationship, or demonstrating values important to their target customers. Most ads aimed at the small business are relatively ineffective because the ad agency fails to understand the needs and wants of their target.

Seventy-six per cent of people think that big businesses lie in their adverts; 78% are more likely to buy on the recommendation of others; and still the corporates think that the route to market is about advertising spend.

via “I am not an SME, you patronising ***!”.

It’s a fuzzy old world!


11-simplex_graph

I like this picture. It reminds me of Spirograph from when I was a kid. It’s pretty complex too but still nowhere near conveying the sheer complexity of a “typical” complex business system…even a relatively small one!

“Why not?” I hear you cry. Well, let me attempt to, briefly, explain.

Visualise each red dot as an activity or process undertaken within the business or, indeed, as a series of key participants in the company’s supply chain. Look at all the interconnections

Even when a business decision is pretty clear cut, from the assessment of the known facts – quantitative and qualitative – and the outcome is yes or no, that doesn’t tell us about how much, when, who, what else is affected by the decision or to what extent..

This can be (is in scientific circles!) described as fuzziness. Too many potential outcomes to even begin to calculate. Read more of this post

TEN Practical rules for good business conduct


1. Establish your core business values and stick to them or else your reputation will suffer

2. Welfare and motivation of your staff are critical to your success

3.Remember that the owner-manager’s business behaviour will be taken as a role model by staff

4. If you need a partner in the business make sure that they share both your vision and values

5. Work at your relations with customers; they neither start nor stop when the sale is made

6. Don’t knock your competitors

7. Stick to your agreed terms of payment

8. Record all financial transactions in your books

9. Find at least one way of supporting the communities in which you operate

10. If you are doubtful about an ethical issue in your business, take advice

The above is taken from:
Priorities, Practice & Ethics in Small Firms by Laura Spence