Sunday, November 11, 2012
Lies! Damn Lies!
I've not talked about local business issues recently and so it's time to come back on track. What affects each individual also affects each business because as money gets tighter or more available then that will be reflected on how they spend. Now I do think that we should be positive and look forward to improvements but we should still be realistic.
I think it's time to talk about recent events that affect us all. Utility prices have gone up. Unemployment and inflation have come down. Comet has gone bust but in the main there have been far fewer bankruptcies than we were expecting and in fact I believe that they are down on last year.
Apart from utility prices rising and Comet going (although this has been on the cards for ages) this all good news. Or is it?
Inflation falling! Did you know that amongst other items that gas and electricity has been taken out of the equation. So when gas goes up it doesn't affect the inflation figures. Aren't utilities basic costs with which we can't live? Aren't more and more people having to decide between keeping warm and eating? And this isn't just lower earners. Mid earners still have rising costs to maintain their usual standard of living so they are hit too. I don't believe that inflation is falling.
Unemployment is falling! What great news. But then we were told that the take-up has been in part-time jobs. And David Cameron then went on to say that this shows there is a change in what people want - they don't want full time jobs!! What a load of rubbish. Ask anyone who is working part-time if that suits them. Some will say "Yes!" but in the main these are folk with a specific agenda: they might be mums with young children who want to work when the kids are at school.; they might be parents who want to share their time with the children: they might be older folk who just need to earn an extra because they've taken early retirement and have a good pension. In my opinion unemployment is not falling morally. It is falling because folk are forced into job shares and part-time work.
And a word of caution. It now seems that the credit rating companies aare recording "Payday" loans separate to other loans and banks are using this indicator as another excuse to block a loan application. I personally believe that Credit Unions are a great way forward. In America they are common-place. In the UK they are relatively unknown. When managed well they are a boon. Look for your local Credit Union. Start saving and they you can borrow on a rainy day. They are restricted on the interest they charge and are run locally for local people.
And how about small businesses. We've had promises of the government cutting red tape but has that happened? I haven't seen any evidence. I don't believe the banks are lending still. And possibly the reason is now that they don't have the resources. They have been given until 2014 by when they must have 10% of their total assets available and after recent events (that they have brought on themselves with having to repay bank charges, mis-sold "everything" and huge director salaries and bonuses (although many of their clerks on on very low wages) their coffers are getting empty!! Doesn't that make you feel sorry for them.
Many small businesses are faced with high, unrealistic rents and rates, higher transport , utilities and supplies costs, and struggling to employ staff who have what it takes - often as basic as a few social skills and able to read, write and do simple sums.
But at then end of the day, with the relentless hassles and sleepless nights, who'd want to change and work for someone else.
You can increase sales in your business whatever the size by offering better customer care. My next post will be 25 ways to Improve Customer Service and increase the bottom line - PROFIT!!