A feel good story of the modern age

In this high-tech interconnected world, it’s all too easy to take for granted the tools at our disposal, tools such as: smart phones, wi-fi connectivity, search engines, websites and even online ordering. Here in the UK, and across the majority of the world, we can sit on our derriere’s and order takeaway food and have it delivered to our homes without barely moving a muscle. Putting the obvious lack of exercise and human interaction to one side for a moment, all these tools are there to help us make the most of every available second of our time. But on Saturday afternoon, as I was driving home from Leamington Spa with my son, we’d be able to use most of … Read More >

Retail Discounting – The Road to Ruin

Discounting - The road to ruin

It’s tough on the high street right now, really tough. You may have heard the expression when people say things happen in a certain way because all the planets just line up right for them? Well I’d argue that at the moment that lining up of planets is having the opposite effect. Many retailers who have been struggling for some time with digital, have subsequently had GDPR to contend with and the rights of access of personal data, followed by Brexit and the general political climate both here and in the US and China. Then, on top of that, they’re now seeing the additional impact of a lack of footfall, caused through personal financial anxiety or environmental challenges (such as … Read More >

“Experts built the Titanic didn’t they?”

Astronomer or Astronaut - who has the most experience in space

Over the last twenty-four months there’s been a lot of dialogue and feverish activity in some quarters surrounding the introduction of the new European data protection regulations (known as GDPR), the aim of which is the safeguarding of personal data in a business context. During this time, I’ve come across a variety of business responses that follow several marketing models, from those who rapidly adopt anything and everything that’s new to support their business positioning, through to those who significantly lag behind. I’ve spoken with a Chairman who believes it’ll be nothing more than a damp squib, likening it to Y2K, other large operators that ignored it until the last two months prior to introduction, some who have copied Privacy … Read More >

To Charge or Not to Charge?

20th century social thinker & philanthropist

We live and work in an age where competition for market space has never been greater, so whether you’re selling coffee or cars it’s inevitable that most businesses feel compelled to provide schemes such as, ‘try before you buy’, ‘buy now pay later’ and ‘interest free’ offers. These schemes may be particularly relevant if you are trying to leverage your product amongst a wider group of consumers (such as those mentioned), but I’ve begun to notice that these initiatives are becoming more prevalent in the area of consulting too, and not just amongst the new entrants desperate for a piece of the sector. I accept that any business regardless of size may want to do adopt a range of initiatives … Read More >

The Research That’s Generally Overlooked by B2B SME’s (your competitor’s customers)

Ask most consumers to tell you what they know about market research and they’ll invariably recall one of the many questionnaires they’ve received into their email account or smart phone after a recent shopping experience. Ask the same of the SME business-to-business environment and we often see an identical response, that of a business owner who cites a personal consumer experience. So why would a business owner not reference a business example as his/her first thought, and what does this tell us? Here’s four learnt conclusions; – Members of the SME business community rely instead on turnover and profitability figures believing these to be the only valid indicator for current (& potential) success. SME businesses who have used off-the-shelf tools … Read More >

Attend as my guest – CIM event exploring Artificial Intelligence

A Farmer and his new way of working

No one can have failed to notice the sheer number of stories that seem to make their way onto the front pages almost every day. Personally, I love seeing technology evolve but from an ethical perspective I do wonder what this will do to the job market and perhaps more importantly, what it’ll do with our own sanity if the human race isn’t kept busy. Are we simply going to re-train people (assuming there’s work for them to re-train in of course), or are most of us going to become shareholders in businesses and generate our livelihoods from the profits these firms generate? I’m wondering more than ever now because in the last few weeks’ I’ve been surprised about the … Read More >

Shared objectives require defining for success

I’ve been running my consultancy for many years now, 14 to be precise and during this time we’ve been lucky enough to work with many wonderful people. I used to think that this was just good luck on our part until recently when I started to question this element we refer to as ‘luck’. In fact I recall one business owner saying to me during a car journey that “the harder he worked, the luckier he seemed to get”. I hadn’t heard this before and so it struck me as being very insightful. But since that time I’ve thought about this even further. Take for example my comment about being ‘lucky enough’ to work with many wonderful people which really … Read More >

GDPR – Ignorance is no defence

If you’ve heard about this and are already preparing your business congratulations, if not then you really need to be aware of the changes coming our way that will most likely affect all businesses in the UK in 2018. So what is GDPR? It stands for ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ and it is designed to bring all European countries into line on matters of personal and commercial data protection enforcing such policies on all member states (surprisingly not all have robust policies). Of course it’s long overdue bearing in mind how much has changed with managing personal data since the Data Protection Act of 1998 was brought into being in the UK. Many consumers are in the dark about how … Read More >

Stuffocation – a marketing man’s moral dilemma

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of ‘Stuffocation’ but I first came across it in 2015 whilst hearing it discussed on BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans breakfast show. Mr Evans was interviewing James Wallman, the author of a book with the same title.  James Wallman’s view and I suspect the view of quite a few people, lies in the fundamental question, what exactly are our little lives all about? We live, work, breathe and die on this planet and yet through our work we are driven to buy material things that make us feel happy, temporarily at least. That desire to do better than our neighbours or our friends and to generate pride amongst our family. That belief that … Read More >

With our help our SME business clients have BIG ideas!

I spend a fair amount of my time helping SME companies develop growth strategies. These strategies require me to review their markets and competition, products and services, systems, skills and of course their staff roles and capabilities to position the business for their short and long-term goals. Yet in SME’s (particularly of a certain size), it can be all too easy to lose sight of one’s own staff when your customers and competitors, products and services can take up so much of a management team’s time, so we help by ‘joining-up-the-dots’. A large percentage of SME’s recruit staff, either by word-of-mouth, recruitment agency, advertisement, networking or promotion through the ranks and a few take this further and bring in apprentices, especially … Read More >