Archive for March, 2017

Channel 4 to move from London


Widely reported is the governments insistence that Channel 4 have to move from their London headquarters to somewhere “regional”. Nothing new in this with the BBC having controversially decamped to Salford a little while ago. Some might say that the quality of output has declined and in my opinion, the rather dismal Radio 5 would bear that out.

Channel 4 is publicly owned so the decision is not theirs alone but having spent some time in the media industry and actually worked with C4,  I know full well how important face to face relationships are and how the sector is extremely London centric.

That very phrase naturally gets many pulling faces but no one complains about chemicals being “Cheshire centric”. No one suggested moving chemical engineers to Dagenham just to “even things up” did they?




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Brexit effects



I am often asked what the effect has been of brexit on both my business and that of my clients. An understandable question but one which is difficult to answer definitively. On the other hand there are observations both of sentiment and practicalities.

The sentiment is undoubtably one of uncertainty. The problem has been compounded by the fact that most predictions of the immediate effect of the vote from both sides of the argument have proved to be laughably wrong. In actual fact it is the gloom filled “remainers” who have probably embarassed themselves most crictically. George Osborne being a perfect case in point. The economy did not crash and shows no signs of doing so.

Then there was the whole issue of corporate and banking head offices. At a networking event I was told by one ex banker that “every major bank” will leave the uk. The fact that Wells Fargo, UBS, Goldman Sachs and Deutches Bank have recently committed to new head offices here would appear to suggest otherwise.

Thats the relative positives but there can be no doubt that uncertainty has greatly affected the appetite for risk. In my experience Business owners will habitually be very senstive to external factors. Arguably too much so but understandable given that they have so much more at stake than the average employee. My business is generated by those wishing to expand and few of my clients are sounding bullish.

There is of course the tendency to blame brexit for other failings. The most notorious example was Jamie Oliver and the closure of a number of his  mediocre restuarants but ive seen it elsewhere with one specific example springing to mind

Perhaps the most significant effect is the one that has been least considered. Not least by those for whom immigration was something of an obsession.

A good friend of mine runs a security business. He has great clients and good reputation and I asked him about his plans for expansion. He was not going to do so. The reason? The best available staff are heading back to eastern europe because of the uncertaintly of their status. Put simply, he was not going to risk his reputation by being hit with a labour shortage.

This is to my mind a hugely significant factor. We have a very high rate of employment and as much as many of those who voted to leave moan about job opportunities, there are shortages in many sectors.

How ridiculous it would be if our stromg economy was held back simply because we cannot access the staff we require?

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And more….


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More powerpoint


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Death by Powerpoint


I enjoyed this cartoon which was linked to a rather good blog post posted by Charles Gunningham.

I have also now noticed that it is now almost customary for powerpoint presenters to apologise in advance for using this awful “tool”. Dont apologise please.

Just dont use it





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Is credit information only for credit?


Companies House is an excellent instituion that we should rightly value. Its an enormous aid to businesses which I believe is under-utilised.

And it has moved on from the huge microfiche library illustrated above.

We are accustomed to examining balance sheets and profit and loss statements to determine a client’s ability to pay. It is an art rather than a science with many other factors to take into consideration and it has been my career for more years than I would care to remember.

But is that the only purpose of filed accounts?

Not at all. Filed companies house information can tell you a lot about any business provided you know what you are looking for and that is the key.

Some examples.

1. Targeting potential clients
2. Potential aquisitions
3. The strength of your competitors
4. Potential purchasers

I have geared these reports around some interesting crtieria beyond the usual financial information including from registering of patents to age of directors.

This has also worked very successfully for my targeted marketing


This has been a service I provided for a number of clients and if you feel this is something to discuss, please feel free to call me

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Where will Brexit leave us on trade?

shutterstock_30486304This is a question that wont go away and has generated some fairly hysterical reactions from all sides. Trade agreements have become something of an obession in certain quarters and perhaps its time for a more realistic analysis. For this I come back to Matt Ridley

Matt is certainly a “leaver” but anyone questioning the stance would do well to go through his points line by line.

On timescales

A conversation last week with Tony Abbott, the former ­Australian Prime ­Minister, brought this home to me. When he became PM, Mr Abbott did something unusual.

Noticing that his country’s trade negotiators had spent years meandering towards deals with China, Japan and other countries — enjoying room service in five-star hotels in different cities as they did so — he set them deadlines.

Within six months Australia had signed a trade deal with South Korea.

Japan took eight months, China 13. There were just 150 people or so involved on the ­Australian side.

And is it trade?

The European Union makes them very hard. It began ­negotiating a trade ­agreement with America more than 27 years ago.

The resulting Transatlantic Trade and Investment ­Partnership leviathan is barely about trade at all, but about the rights of multinational companies in the courts and other such matters.

The obvious?

Besides, there seems to be a growing misapprehension that you need trade deals to trade, as if they were licences to trade. America, China and India, with which the EU has no deals, are among its ­biggest trading partners.

The EU is ­actually the best organisation to join if you DON’T want trade deals.

It has ­remarkably few and they are mostly with small countries: Mexico and South Korea are the biggest.

The real effect of “tariffs”?

In any case, the fall in the Pound more than compensates for such tariffs. I talked to a British manufacturer last week who said that with the Pound at $1.20, he can barely keep up with global demand on WTO terms from the rest of the world.

Diehard Remainers who liken that ­outcome to crashing off a cliff edge into catastrophe are wrong for two reasons.

First, under the WTO’s most-favoured nation principle, the EU cannot raise ­tariffs on our goods higher than they impose on other countries. It cannot ­discriminate against us.

Second, under the WTO’s national ­treatment principle, the EU cannot use non-tariff barriers, such as regulations and standards, to discriminate against British goods and services to favour domestic businesses instead.

Im finding little to disagree with here

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