Number 10, productivity & living with jeopardy

Number 10

In these changing times we are living with jeopardy. This week at number 10 Jacqui met Boris Johnson. He said that he believes for the country to thrive business must flourish. Thomas Jardine & Co are doing our bit by working closely with Be the Business and others to help UK Businesses to increase their productivity.

Why productivity is important

The UK is facing an unprecedented productivity crisis. If we don’t correct this, we will inevitably lose business to more productive countries. Fixing this means we cannot continue doing what we have always done, we must learn to adapt and change.

Black Farmer and jeopardy

Whilst Jacqui was meeting Boris in London, we heard a master class from Wilfred Emanuel-Jones (Black Farmer Ltd) in Penrith. Wilfred took us through his story of dealing with jeopardy which he defined as the risk of loss, harm or failure.  He emphasized that businesses who can thrive with jeopardy will lead the way in the future. The world is changing rapidly, constant change will be the norm. We will all have to learn to unlearn what we know and adapt to new realities.

We have seen the future is bright and met some jeopardy masters

Jacqui’s visit to number 10 was sandwiched within a two-day course Thomas Jardine & Co delivered on design thinking for a marvellous group of SMEs and entrepreneurs. This course was part of Lancaster University’s Cumbria Growth Hub. Over these two days we really saw the ability of business owners to grasp new concepts and square impossible circles. Good business owners by default are living with jeopardy. If government allows them to flourish, they will help solve the productivity challenge.

Jeopardy is all around us, embrace it! Let’s enable the people who live with it daily to help create a business environment that increases our productivity to a level that is the envy of the world.


Family business dimension in place

Family and place

Family owned firms are critical to your place.  Imaging loosing just under half your retailers, restaurants and hotels from your place. Statistics highlight the impact of family businesses on these sectors. According to the IFB 85% of all private businesses in the UK are family owned. 46% of all those employed in retail and wholesale work for family firms. Family owned hotel and restaurant businesses also account for 46% of the total employment in that sector.

How the ‘family business’ is lost in place consultations

It’s simple. Family businesses are involved in consultations but they are identified as retailers, hoteliers, restaurateurs or wholesalers.  Numerous academic papers acknowledge that family businesses do have an impact on regional planning.  They argue that the regional impact of family business may be down to a combination of the embeddedness of the family firm in their community and the role personal relationships play in local networks .

The academic argument on family business impact

Academic papers show that network roles and choices made by individuals within family businesses are different to those in non-family business.  This is because family firms have a social and emotional attachment to their place, which is referred to as ‘socioemotional wealth’.  Those with high socioemotional wealth tend have more positive impacts on their local community than non-family firms.  In some cases family firms may value socioemotional wealth over financial performance.  It should be noted that there is some evidence that this commitment to place, above financial reward, is not exclusive to family business. But family connection to place plays a key part in this decision .

The emphasis of public sector support for regional development on quantifiable measures such as GVA  can identify the impact family firms have on place.  However at times this may be overlooking the long term value of socioemotional wealth to that place.

Practical steps to ensure the longevity of family firms

Several organisations such as the Family Business Network and Family Business United celebrate the best of family businesses regionally and nationally.  There are also others who work on supporting the successful transfer of a family business from one generation to another. Be the Business offer various levels of support or family businesses and are working on  next generational family business workshops.  Thomas Jardine & Co work with the Family Business Network and Be the Business and would be happy to put you in touch with either of these great organisations.

Bring place and family closer together

When making plans for the business sector in your place, please do not just focus on the standard industrial sectors.  Consider the generational firms based in your place.  Support them and encourage the birth of new family businesses in your place.  Successful businesses that are based in a place will look after that place for generations to come.

 


Working on your businesses future

What’s important in your future

It’s a simple question.  But a really hard one to answer.  Go on try it….what do you really want to be doing next year, the year after and in ten years time?  If you answered this with bullet points from your business plan please take a moment.  Have you thought about your life outside of the business? Now answer the same question, what do you really want to be doing next year and how is your business going to help you get there?

I am my business

There are so many people prepared to help you plan your future based on some great business models.  This is great if your business future matches your life plan.  We know running a business is different to the employed world.  The business becomes part of you and despite what everyone says it does become personal.  However like all things in life if you take control you will get more from it. Look at taking control of your business future as taking control of your health by regular exercise or your weight by starting a better diet.

So what is the secret of a good diet plan or a good exercise plan?  It’s to set goals and stick to the plan. Planning your business future is exactly the same. Like improving your diet or fitness, planning for your business can’t be separated from the rest of your life.  You know going on a diet at the same time as starting a bakery course isn’t a good idea.  Have you ever planned a business project at exactly the same time as a family holiday?  Would reviewing your business budget over Christmas really be a good idea? Both previous examples should be extreme examples, but probably not for a lot of us…  Good planning allows you to enjoy both your business and the rest of your life.  If you are stuck in the wheel of ‘business first’ every time maybe it’s time for a change.

A business with a lifestyle not a lifestyle business

What a lovely phrase ‘lifestyle business’ .  The world is full of lifestyle businesses.  Many of them make a good living for their owners who are actually getting paid for essentially living their dream.  Essentially most people don’t go into business to make a fortune. They create a business to get away from the problems they have met in the employed world.  When business are ran well the owners can make a good living and have a good lifestyle.

On the flip side business must be taken seriously.  There are far too many examples of start ups looking for a lifestyle that because of poor planning haven’t worked well for their owners. Business is relentless and even the best can get tired and that’s when its time to revisit the business gym or business diet club.

Finding your business gym or business diet club

Why does the Great British Public when it wants to get fitter or loose weight go to the gym or join a diet club?  The two reasons for this are that’s where the experts are and that’s where people who want to get fitter or loose weight go to.  It’s the same with business.  If the business has lost its way or it wants to get better, it goes  to experts form accountants, business advisors and business groups such as Be the Business. If the business wants motivation it should work with likeminded businesses (your peers).

Help can also be found from universities such as Lancaster University have always offered access to a range of experts from masterclasses to 6 month courses.  They also play host to resident entrepreneurs (Jacqui is a resident entrepreneur here).  Other universities host business experts to match the academic work they are doing ( Jacqui is part of WE-LEAD at the University of Birmingham).

As Thomas Jardine & Co we regularly work with universities, growth hubs and other business groups to design and deliver business courses designed to help businesses with specific development needs.  The most effective of these always involve peer work because your peers rarely let you down.

Working with business experts and your peers

Experts are useful, like personal trainers they can get you over a particular problem and motivate you in their session.  If the business wants to keep on track it finds fellow businesses who are doing well to talk to.  Our last year in the Guild in Carlisle has shown the absolute value of sharing space with fellow businesses of all sizes who just want to improve their businesses.  Business peer support here is as good as you get with regular gym goers.

So the choice is yours.  If you need to fix a specific issue then talk to the right expert.  Then, if you want to get in the habit of planning your business and building your future lifestyle then look to work with  a group of your peers. Finally, if you want to make a start on the next part of your business journey give us a shout.

 

 


Peer Learning and The Family Business

So, who is your peer?

A peer: “A person of the same age, the same social position, or having the same abilities as other people in a group”

Does this mean the family business is the ultimate peer group

The very nature of family business makes family businesses self contained peer groups. Family members working in a family business are  business owners tend to have the same social position.  All family members have  the opportunity to contribute to the success of the business.  A ‘husband and wife’ team will probably  be of similar ages. With a generational family business there is a possibility that there will be a number of them of similar ages.

Running your business with your spouse you will be both learning to manage business and personal life. You will be doing this with the one person who knows you better than anyone else. Growing up in a generational family business you will have felt the impact of the peer group. As a family business child you would hear kitchen table conversations between mum , dad and grandad. These family conversations create business actions (or inaction) driven by frank discussions in arenas of trust.

Nothing is more powerful than  your peers challenging you

Family businesses are used to everyone from suppliers to customers challenging their plans.  We all treat these challenges with the respect they deserve.  We know that the  challenges that really test us are made by folk who walk in our shoes.  Family business owners are used to been challenged by other members of their family.  This is what makes them different to non family businesses.  Our most memorable impact from facilitating the Lancaster University Family Business Program was the impact of family business owners working in peer groups to challenge each other.

To remain ahead of the game in business, your learning has to be greater than the rate of change.  Otherwise you will be left behind.

INSEAD an institution that works closely with some of the largest and most successful family firms from across the world. INSEAD puts the success of these businesses down to bedrocks of:  “Clear and well defined family values, trust, networks and innovation” . In todays rapidly changing business environment family busineses can build on their values, trust and networks to be at the forefront of innovation in systems and products. So, our learning must keep up with the rate of change, otherwise we will be left behind.

Action Learning is a powerful tool to enhance your decision making skills on your business journey, fundamentally there is no learning without action!

We have found that combining peer to peer learning with action learning creates a powerful tool.  This combination of learning  leads directly to actions  encouraged by a group of trusted peers.  It takes place in a confidential setting of your peers of  family business leaders from a variety of sectors.  Your peers asks you to examine the challenges within your business in an open and honest way, using open question techniques.  By doing this, the peer group  improves your confidence helping you achieve personal and business goals and achieve your overall ambitions.

Come and join us with Be the Business

Thomas Jardine & Co are working with Be the Business, the Family Business Network and Cumbria Growth Hub to deliver a family business programme based on peer to peer action learning and would love you to be part of it.  Take your first action and  come and join us.


Think Plan Do

Those who think and those who do

Our world is made up of three types of people.  Those who think and spend time planning before they do. Then there are those who do and spend time fixing what they’ve done after its done. Then in the middle are those who do a bit of  thinking and a bit of doing.

In business thinkers frustrate those who do and  those that do tend to worry thinkers.  People run good businesses when they know when to think and when to do .  Achieving this is down to habit and behaviour.

At Thomas Jardine we help businesses grow by supporting small changes in their behaviour that allows a constructive focus on thinking and doing.

On it not in it

At the Guild we run the ‘on it not in it’ club where we all spend time rebalancing the time we spend on our businesses (thinking) and the time we spend in our businesses (doing).  This is a real peer group of people who can genuinely support each other as we balance the need to think and do.

Be the Business and develop good habits with your peers

We must stress that the best people to encourage habits that balance your thinking and doing are those in the same boat as you. This is where peer groups and advisory boards come into their own. We are working with Be the Business to deliver both peer learning and advisory boards for the North West Family Business Programme. If you want to know more contact ourselves or any of our partners (The Family Business Network, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce; East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce). Of course some times you need more than peer support to develop an idea and this is when you need more focused time thinking about and planning for your businesses future.

Innovation Design Programme

There are numerous programmes available that allow businesses the time and space to plan and innovate.  We are currently working with Lancaster University to develop a programme to encourage innovation in Cumbria’s  Supply Chain.  This is an exciting concept working across a supply chain and is based in part with work we did with Cumbria LEP on the food and drink sector.  For more details please contact Lancaster University Management School . 

Take time to talk to potential customers and fellow businesses

Programmes aren’t the only way you can share experiences with your customers and peers.  Last year we spent three great days in the company of  This is Cumbria.  At surface level this was a Cumbrian Food and Drink Pavilion at the Farm Shop & Deli Show.   Like all trade shows it allowed our businesses to connect with old and new customers alike.  The extra benefit was the time that these businesses could share their experiences with peers from the local area.  You get new ideas that drive your business thinking forward by talking with other businesses.  If you want to join us in 2020 please give us a shout.

Sometimes you just need to see the bigger picture

Most businesses don’t get a lot of time to really step back and think about the bigger picture. Some would argue that this ‘thinking time’ is just too far removed from actually working in the business.  However taking a deep breath and occasionally scanning the horizon can really help you check that the short term direction of your business matches with your long term goals.  With this in mind we are working with Cumbria Forum on a  two day event in September.  This will use design thinking to deep dive into future relationships with customers and suppliers.  If you’re interested please contact the forum.

Always leave with an action plan

Thinking and planning are essential for sustainable business growth.  But they are useless without actions. So hopefully this article has made you think and you are now tempted to make a new plan.  Please, please  give yourself up to three actions that you will take to make sure you convert thinking into doing.  Ideally share these with one of your peers ( they can then hold you to account) or if you want share them with us and we will remind you of your plans in 6 months time.  Let’s all think and do and make our businesses the best they can be.


Future of food and drink? Just look outside and inside

To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .

Eye on the future

Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways.  For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change  at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting).  The new store  has  created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.

Eye on the inside

In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this.  The lack of available space  made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing.  This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.

Eye on the outside

We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside.  The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them.  The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT  are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.

Adding the third eye

The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.


Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink (release from EFRA Committee)

Interesting release from Environement, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
For immediate release 27.06.19

Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s today launches its Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink report.

Food and drink manufacturing is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £28.2 billion to the economy annually. In 2018, food and drink exports were worth £22.6 billion. Trade is therefore vital for the food and farming industries. This inquiry explored whether enough was being done to promote British food and drink, at home and abroad.

While progress is being made in some areas, we are concerned that the Government is not being ambitious or strategic enough in its approach to marketing and export activities. The food and drink industry has recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities via its proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. The Government should approve this Sector Deal immediately and confirm a timetable for its implementation.

Food labelling

Research shows that while origin is important to some British consumers, purchasing behaviour is primarily driven by price. The origin of food can be found on the label, but less often for processed food.

The Government should introduce requirements for the origin of characterising ingredients in processed foods to be specified on labels – for example, the origin of the poultry in a chicken curry. This would enable those consumers who prefer to buy British to make informed choice.

Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GIs) provide legal protection against unlawful imitation of protected food and drink products. They also confer a price premium on products, making GIs both economically important as well as a recognised indicator of origin.

Given the potential for the UK to leave the EU without a deal in October, the Government should ensure that the domestic GI system meets the criteria required for EU approval and is ready prior to exit, to minimise disruption to British exporters. This Report recommends the Government make seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU on GIs a priority, especially if agreeing an overarching withdrawal agreement is not possible.

Tradeshow Access Programmes

The Government’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides businesses with support they need to attend trade shows abroad. It is seen by the industry as an important way for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to promote their businesses and break into new markets. The Committee therefore welcome the increased focus on SME participation in TAP.

However, TAP spend on food and drink has declined by 10 per cent since 2017/18. This dip reflects an ongoing trend of decreased funding. In addition, the rules on accessing grants have become more restrictive. The Tradeshow Access Programme should be reviewed urgently, in consultation with industry and trade associations. Funding should be potentially increased as part of the upcoming Spending Review.

International awareness

Awareness of British food and drink is low in international markets. More research is required to work out the best ways to promote British products overseas and increase exposure to British food. Recognising this gap, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has made commendable efforts to provide international market intelligence. The AHDB currently conducts market research across both domestic and international markets.

It is not clear if this dual responsibility is the most effective arrangement. The current review of the AHDB should consider whether the balance of funding between domestic and international market intelligence and promotion is fit for the future. AHDB should also assess if more needs to be done to promote to the domestic market.

Neil Parish MP, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“Trade remains an integral part of the UK economy. Our food and farming industry generates hundreds of billions a year and employs one in eight people. Given the uncertainty of Brexit, it is absolutely essential that the Government takes steps to build Britain’s global brand for food and drink.

“What the current approach to marketing and export is really lacking is enough ambition or strategic thinking – the Government cannot afford to be complacent at a time of such grave importance to the sector.

“Those working in the sector have clearly recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities in the proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. We must see the Government work closely with the industry to promote our food and drink excellence around the world.

“As our Report states, market access and increasing exports do not happen overnight, and action must be taken urgently.”

Media information: Joe Williams williamsjb@parliament.uk 020 7219 8878 | 075 4651 7626
More information on the Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink inquiry
EFRA Committee Membership here.
Committee website: www.parliament.uk/efracom


Food and Place : why it’s important to your place

This is Cumbria at the NEC 2019       Cumbrian Food and Drink       Front cover of Carlisle Living "our food revolution"

Why is food important to place?

There are so many reasons why food and drink captures the essence of place . The French have a word for it ‘terroir’. Terroir is the flavour of the local produce comes from the land on which it’s grown. We go further. People in the place can and do influence the flavour of their food and drink. The Food and Drink from around Cumbria is from a place on the edge of nation ( England or Scotland). So we have learned to be more self-reliant whilst maintaining strong links to our national market place.

What we do

As Thomas Jardine & Co, our day job is to work with individual businesses in the area.  We help identify their pinch points and then develop solutions that either help them grow or become more productive.  We also help bring the national focus onto the great business culture that exists in our unique area.

Taking Cumbria to the Nation

In April we were proud to be part of ‘This is Cumbria’ taking a wide selection of our great food and drink producers down to the Farmshop & Deli Show in the NEC.  The joy of this was that ‘This is Cumbria’ was co-created by a group of like minded businesses.  It wasn’t delivered with external support offered to national stands there from Wales or Scotland.  It worked so well that we are doing it all over again in 2020 (give us a shout if you want to know more).

In May Thomas Jardine & Co revisited the DEFRA offices in London representing the Cumbrian Local Economic Partnership (LEP).  The meeting gathered LEPs from around the country who are developing a focus on the food and drink sector.  The conversation on the day covered the best use of our ‘natural economy‘ and the encouragement of a ‘circular economy’ .  In layman terms this means not destroying natural assets (land, water supply, air quality). It also encourages you to get the most out of everything you use.  The final focus from DEFRA was on Public Sector Procurement where they highlighted a software system from Crown Commercial that would allow local producers to supply Public Sector bodies. This is a particular aim of Carlisle Food City so it would be great if we could persuade them to test this in our place.

Celebrating our food and drink

In May Carlisle Living ran an excellent set of features on the Food Revolution going on in Carlisle celebrating the new food movement going on in our city. The old CN Group always celebrated the sector in style with their Carlisle Living Awards and it is hoped that the new owners will continue with this.

Places in the conversation

We keep on meeting people from the SW of England who have the same opportunities as up here in Cumbria. Consequently, we are developing similar solutions.  There has got to be something in Cumbria and Cornwall working to develop solutions that benefit the whole of the UK.  At the same time we are also talking to more organisations based in Manchester.  So part of the answer must also lie in working closely with stakeholders from our region.

As border country we are also working with business and groups from both England and Scotland.  Learning form each sides differing approaches to looking after its resources and supporting its businesses.  This attitude is part of what lies behind the growing ‘Borderlands’ project.  Our area is well aware that the line between Scotland and England  only exists on a map or political boundary.  Unless we build a wall will have a fluid movement of local goods and services across it. To be honest, history shows that even if Scotland and England go their own way again I am pretty sure us border folk will find ways of continuing their business activities with or without their nations blessings : for extreme examples just check out ‘border reivers‘ on google.

Come and talk to us

In July we are going to talk about food and place at the national Revive and Thrive Conference in Manchester would be great to catch up with any of you who want to talk about how food and drink works with your place.

It is a joy to see our work help individual business and to bring our place into the national conversation.  So if we can either help you as an individual business to get over that nagging issue at the back of your mind or you want us to help raise the attention of our place at a national level then please get in touch.

 

 


This is Cumbria : shouting about food and drink

    

This is Cumbria : the beginnings

Between the 8th and 10th of April a large group of Cumbrian Food and Drink Businesses are going down to the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC. They are going down as individual businesses but are locating in one large ‘This is Cumbria’ pavilion.

This is Cumbria started as an idea at last years show from two businesses Ginger Bakers and Hawkshead Relish. They both wanted to make more noise about the great businesses based in Cumbria.  So as you do, they booked a huge block right next door to the main stage for next year.

A few days later Maria from Hawkshead Relish rang us (Thomas Jardine & Co) and Sue from the Family Business Network to see if we could help fill, name, promote and develop the space. The answer was of course yes. The name ‘This is Cumbria’ came up as the collective name for the stand and We are Eclectic stepped up to do the design work for the show. As we write, Printing Plus have stepped up to do our printing.

This is Cumbria at the Farmshop & Deli Show

The plan is to make ‘This is Cumbria’ a regular of the Farm Shop and Deli Show.  To achieve this we created a showcase area to allow businesses to test the water in a friendly environment.  They will be surrounded by businesses who are more experienced with these types of shows. Two key sponsors Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers both stepped forward and financially supported areas for these businesses (Cartmell Shepherd the showcase area and Enterprise Answers the enterprise zone).

This is Cumbria:  our supporters

The businesses have now grown to 6 stand holders: Hawkshead Relish, Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liqueur and Farrers and 6 show case businesses: Shed1 Gin, The Pie Mill, ML3 Technical, Lakeland Artisan, The Toffee Shop and Molly Rose Drinks. At time of writing we still have one 2*2 space left so please shout if you fancy joining us.

The activity around the show is now growing.  Maria has given a brilliant masterclass at the NWBH show on getting the most of a trade show. We are also holding a drinks reception on the 9th with Nigel Barden and various Cumbrian Chefs will give ‘This is Cumbria’ a shout from the main stage.

Help is coming form all sorts of other places, 32West have helped with press releases, Freya from WRBM has answered all our queries, BBC Radio Cumbria have talked to us about the progress of the show and loads of tweeters are helping spread the word. This is Cumbria is happening because businesses want it to happen. It’s going to be interesting to see where we go next…


What are you going to do to support businesses in your place?

First published in revive and Thrive 

Future Support for Business

It’s the time of year we all tend to reflect on what’s just happened and plan for what we do differently. So, we thought we would share part of our thinking for an interview schedule we are using to identify the future support businesses may require.

All problems have a degree of impact on business from just plain annoying to ‘business killers’ that threaten the future of the business. Good businesses find solutions to these problems themselves or look to support from outside.

Business Problems

For these businesses there are two types of problems to focus on. These are the problems that stop them getting things done on a day to day basis and the problems that stop them from moving their business forward.

Good businesses have to be really good at problem solving and tend to have solutions for the day to day ‘business killer problems’ quickly (things like cash flow). They then manage those ‘day to day’ problems that have a higher degree of impact with dedicated internal resources or with trusted external expertise. These problems tend to revolve around market competition, regulations and skilled personnel. The problems that tend to need new solutions are those that are getting in the way of them taking up opportunities that could drive their business forward.
So, for part of our research we are asking our businesses to identify the opportunities that would have the greatest impact on their business. Then we are asking them if they can take advantage of this opportunity without support, if they can that’s great and the business can move forward. If they need support and they can identify where to get it from that is also good and shows that there is a network of support available for that business sector.

Short term and long term impacts

What will be concerning is if our businesses interviewed can see an opportunity that they can’t take advantage of because they don’t have either internal systems or external resources to support it. If our place cannot find a solution for these businesses then they will not take advantage of the opportunity they can see. This is not a problem in the short term but if we as a place continue to not offer relevant solutions then eventually our businesses will move to a place that can find these solutions. This is because the problems stopping businesses taking opportunities in the future eventually become the problems stopping businesses function on a day to day basis. For example, thirty years ago a problem with IT was not a ‘business killer’ now not linking your sales directly with your stock ordering could be.

Looking to 2019

So, looking back over 2018, what really got in the way of businesses based in your place? Then looking forward to 2019 what could stop them take advantage of those opportunities they see?
Could you have better helped them in 2018 and what are you planning to do to help them in 2019?

We at Thomas Jardine & Co are helping our place answer these questions, are you doing the same for your place?