Small Business and the Wisdom of Economists and Bankers

Written by Alex Barrett on .

Early this morning I found myself looking at a site that looked, at first, as though the far north port of Wick was setting up to launch a mission to the moon. Walking down the hill to harbour the massive white shapes that were giving this illusion began to become identifiable components of several new wind turbines.

Seeing these massive turbines and their supporting structures dwarfing the tiny fishing boats in the harbour got me thinking about the gulf of difference between large and small business or more particularly micro business enterprises.

I had been thinking about this already from reading the Bank of England’s latest survey of credit conditions in the United Kingdom. This had made me wonder about forecasting and the demands on micro business owners to foretell the future.

Rather than just regurgitate the assessments of the statistics provided by the economists and financiers of the last couple of days I thought I would do some number crunching with a different aim in mind.

It struck me that the people who provide the numbers to the Bank for the survey are the lenders themselves and the very ones who make the recommendations about lending policy within the lending institutions. I wondered how good their skills of prediction actually are.

Government Can Help Microbusiness And Save Money

Written by Alex Barrett on .

Local councillors round here have recently been celebrating the confirmation of funding for proposed developments in the far north. It is difficult though to tease out from the various projects and schemes that have been approved how exactly local microbusiness and employment will be boosted.

Much of the work, by the nature of large projects, will need to be contracted to national or multinational firms who are likely to take the lion’s share of the funding out of the region. Still, I welcome the investment and expect that local contractors will benefit from sub-contracting work and other service commissions.

These grand development schemes remind me of the systemic problem that pervades all efforts to stimulate the economy out of its malaise, not only here in the United Kingdom but across Europe and the rest of the developed world.

Governments Can't Even Give Away Money Right

Perhaps we need to think about the third world and lessons from nearly fifty years of Overseas Development Aid.

Who Cares About Your Repution as a Microbusiness?

Written by Alex Barrett on .

I have been wondering about the mantra that there is no such thing as bad publicity. It was sparked by the story of an optician in New York who actively encouraged bad reviews of his little shop on web sites that landed in my mailbox a while back.

The story itself dates back to 2010 and makes for a remarkable if unedifying read as the rather obnoxious proprietor proudly boasted of his brash approach to marketing.

The story caught the interest of the New York Times because Borker (the entrepreneur in question) had finally overstepped the mark and was likely to be fined heavily, if not sent to prison for issuing personal threats to complaining customers.

Later in the week, a French magazine that I had never heard of previously was the lead item in every news bulletin for days and the subject of massive distraction and discussion for printing intrusive pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge on holiday.

It turns out that this was all pre-publicity for the publisher’s main event which will be a special edition of their Italian publication for which expected sales are tremendous.

The publisher of these magazines is that master of publicity and media, Silvio Berlusconi.

How Micro Business Owners Can Best Use Facebook and Twitter

Written by Alex Barrett on .

Recently there has been a lot of talk about the debatable value of using social networking for marketing in the light of the revelation that one in twelve Facebook users may well not really exist.

Micro business owners in particular need to think carefully about following the herd.

In the period since its launch in May, Facebook shares dropped from a peak of $35 to just $19 and they do not look to be recovering soon.

This is appalling compared to Google whose price rose by nearly 14% over the same period.

Over the same period, the more business focused social network, LinkedIn has achieved almost the exact same increase in its value as Google. However, the performance of the Linkedin Corporation has been quite a roller coaster for loyal investors since its stock market launch a year before Facebook in May of last year.

Twitter has yet to take the plunge into the maelstrom of the markets and after the performance of Facebook Incorporated it is not entirely surprising that this may continue to be the case for some time yet.

Micro Business Needs to Look to The Public Sector for Opportunities

Written by Alex Barrett on .

In common with many micro business owners, I am confident that my enterprise would be more profitable if I sold more stuff to more people.

In common with many businesses up and down the nation I also know that, right now, I have the capacity and capability to do just that.

This is, for most people, a case of “stating the bleeding obvious” but not something that has yet been understood and taken on board by policy leaders and politicians in the United Kingdom.

George Osborne is a faithful follower of the creed of supply-side economics.

In a nutshell, that means believing that reducing taxes on the wealthy will stimulate business leaders to create jobs and invest in creating new products and services.

In reality it is clear that this is not happening. There are quite a number of large corporations with very strong balance sheets and plenty of cash to spend who are simply sitting on their hands at the moment.

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