I heard on the radio that the governor of the Bank of England is expecting the economy to start to pick up this year, and that one of the big carpet retailers has experienced a 5% increase in sales this year, apparently carpets are the first to be hit in a recession, and the first to recover, so lets hope that that’s a good sign. I started my business in late 2008, and having survived this long I’m hoping to still be around when times do get better. I’m hoping that when credits terms get easier I’ll still have my business, that when I talk to my bank about expansion plans, setting up a manufacturing plant, making use of the governments small business guarantee scheme, that they will actually return my calls, even if it’s to say no, it’s not possible at the moment.
When I started Fabulous I had a meeting with the business manager, I turned up to the meeting with a small sample of my caramel vodka and asked what I had to do to set up a business account, and get finance to start my own business. Having tried the vodka, the business manager said “Ok, We’ll finance this, it’s wonderful” and off I went. Next thing I know I have a business account, cheque book, paying in book, and enough cash to begin production. For the next three years I had constant support, encouragement, and good advice from a business manager I came to know by first name and would gladly call a friend. Then he left! At about this time (earlier this year) I’d decided that I would look to set up my own manufacturing plant on a small scale, this would give me greater control over my costs and my products, and allow me greater flexibility over my production schedules. I set up a meeting with the new business manager, we discussed what I wanted to do, and I got the feeling that the meeting went well, there were several funding avenues open to me, they would progress it from there. Then I was told that this chap was only there temporarily, he was the boss of the new business manager, who was away on training, but no problem, he would brief the new business manager when he returned. I heard nothing for a few weeks, so I called the new man. No problem he said, he would discuss the issue with his boss and take it from there, give him a week. It’s new well over two weeks, I’ve been in to my branch, only to be told that he doesn’t spend much time there but they will contact him for me and ask him to call me, I’ve still heard nothing.
So, what should I do? I’m in a position where I have to make a major descision about the future of my business, do I continue to use an outside contractor to bottle my products (admittedly, one I know well, and can visit and oversee my production) and have to fit in with their production schedules and volumes, which is expensive, as I have to make more than I need and then pay to store it etc, or do I set up my own plant and produce what I want, when I need it, and not have all my cash tied up in stock all the time? Just when I need help and advice from my business manager they become hopeless, and don’t even have the curtesy to call me back. I think that I’m justified in feeling a bit angry about this as any economic recovery is going to depend on small businesses just as much as large businesses growing and becoming more successful. I don’t see that the economy can start to recover if our banks won’t even talk to our small businesses, even if it is to give them the bad news that there’s no money available to them.
- Managing cash flow – a guide for small business (premierlinedirect.co.uk)
- All You Need To Have For A Small Business Management Is Planning`Small Business Management Is All About How You Plan. (boldstate.com)
- Why Small Business’s Should Produce Management Accounts (arinobe.com)
- UK back in recession – Why, and what next? (simplybusiness.co.uk)
- The Governor speaks (itv.com)
- Small firms ‘would borrow from friends’ (premierlinedirect.co.uk)