Wednesday, January 24, 2018

based on official statistics, my support to enterprise is far better than what the government pays for...

Business support comes in all sorts of forms, in all sorts of places, and from all sorts of people.

But the question that all entrepreneurs face when navigating the options out there, should be "is it any good?"
And there are all sorts of ways in which you can start to consider the quality, validity, appropriateness, (and even legality!) of the support you find and the advice you're offered through it:

- what qualifications does the person have? (but as I've shown before, a qualification is only an assurance that the person has been taught something, it's usually no indication of how knowledgeable or competent they actually are...)

- what recommendations have others made about them? (but again, I've evidenced how you can't trust any such endorsements a person may have received...)

So what's left? Well, how about statistics relating to performance? After all, it's how the success of any contract or project is usually considered, and the government's flagship business support programme, the growth hubs, are regularly applauded on the basis of these.

But the latest published self-congratulatory statistics about the performance of these growth hubs suggest that they may not actually be that great in practice, and when I compare my own performance against theirs, I seem to come out in a far better light:

Growth Hub - only 5% of all businesses who contact them actually get some 'real' (in person) support
Me - only about 5% of people who contact me by websites, social media, email, or phone don't get the opportunity to have a 'real' (in person) contact and support

Growth Hub - 87% customer satisfaction
Me - 98% customer satisfaction

Maybe this is why I was named as one of the UK's top10 business advisors by Government, and have a trophy cabinet of national and international awards, and the growth hubs don't?
Or maybe it's a case that there's are lies, damned lies, and statistics...?

Monday, January 15, 2018

microbizmatters day - 1 down, 364 to go...

Last week saw the 4th annual #MicroBizMatters Day - a day long live stream on youtube of interviews, performances, challenges, and encouragements to, for, by, and about, micro business owners everywhere (you know, micro business: those small local firms who collectively employ 1/3 of the population, make up 96% of all businesses, and such like, but yet receive hardly any government support...)

Anyways - as with last year, I (and my fez) were invited to the host venue for this year, XYZ Works in Manchester, to help co-ordinate and support the day. And now 'normal service' is being resumed, it's probably a good time to pause to reflect on the day that was, and why it may be the least important day of the year for micro businesses..?

For those of you who missed the day's broadcasts, you can catch up with the full 7 hour (and a bit) broadcast on youtube here:
And there were also a number of 'bonus extras' broadcast via facebook live over on the MicroBizMatters page there: (where you may be able to spot me showing off my 'red carpet socks' and explaining why a moustache has appeared on my face...)

There's always a lot of excitement around each MicroBizMatters Day, but I'm wondering if in the rush of the romance of it all, we risk forgetting that it may not be that important in the grand scheme of MicroBizMatters - talking with guests and visitors to the 'broadcast suite' on the day, i was struck by how many came to be involved through the ongoing campaigns of the movement. And its these campaigns that we should perhaps highlight more, as its these that will change the culture and landscape for micro business everywhere by being talked about every day, in ways that a single days live stream could never hope to achieve?

#PayIn30 - making sure we keep the cash flowing in micro businesses, and that our clients pay when they're supposed to

#Indie25ER - a target of 25% of our purchases to be made from local independent micro businesses, to help strengthen their resilience as providers of local services and local employment

#NotAnSME - challenging government to do more to recognise the valuable role and contribution of micro businesses to GVA, employment, import/export, and generally doing a fair bit to keep the UK economy going!

#IGave12 - encouraging micro businesses to offer support to each other as part of building a peer-led movement

As for my own personal role on the day, I'm pleased to report that I seem to have retained my reputation for being the MicroBizMatters 'naughty boy' judging by others' posts and comments about me on instagram and twitter (including my tabletop dancing...), but that the professionalism and standard of the other roadies to the day seemed to more than cover for any reputational risk my antics may have otherwise caused:
Paul Lancaster (who also sponsored our breakfast!) -

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

the return of the fez...

On Friday of this week (12th January), it's #MicroBizMatters Day: the 4th annual celebration of micro businesses in the UK:

As some may recall, I was invited to be one of its head roadies last year, and as part of the dress code for the event, my fez made its global debut (the day is live streamed from 7am). 
I've been invited back again this year; and I'd like to think it was because of the appreciation of the stories, encouragements, and support to the day I was able to share last year, but just in case, I'll also be packing my fez in case it was that which secured me the repeat booking!

Watch out for various posts during the day using the hashtag (#microbizmatters started trending on twitter during last years' day), but there's also the chance to read all about it with an advance peek at the souvenir programme which has been leaked early! (click here to download a pdf copy).

See you on Friday, and in the words of Tina and Tony, "keep rocking..."