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Best Time to be in Business - Part 2!

16th January 2017

Okay I've got to do it.


I'm fed up with all the negativity we seem to be seeing everywhere in the media these days - I guess it's always been the case but somehow it seems even worse now. The glass is always seen as half empty.


As you may know I travel the world I talk to and spend time with many business leaders running all kinds of sizes of business across just about every sector and I am not, generally, seeing negativity from them.


Let's start with Brexit. I did not vote for Brexit but more people in the UK voted for it than for anything, ever, in the history of our democracy so we have to make it work.

Firstly let's have a look at some of the facts - it's always better to base decisions in business on fact rather than myth, comment and opinion:

"UK Manufacturing growth hits 2½ year high" - Purchasing Managers Index

"UK firms continue to hire and concerns rise over shortage of candidates" - International Business Times

"Britain ended the year as the strongest of the world's advanced economies" - Bank of England

"Fastest UK services growth in 17 months" - Purchasing Managers Index

"UK car sales at record high in 2016" - The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

"UK car production hits 17 year high"- The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

"UK unemployment in further fall "- BBC

"Job optimism at 3 year high" - Manpower survey

"FTSE 100 index at all time record high"

I don't remember seeing a set of figures that good for a very long time!


Also, one positive I am seeing is a number of companies who were, maybe, a little comfortable, a little complacent perhaps, who have 'woken up' as a result of the Brexit vote and are re-examining their businesses and their strategy for the future - which can only be healthy.


So - Let's just get on with it!


Of course there is similar media-induced negativity elsewhere too.


I recently ran a one-day Masterclass for KPMG Greece in Athens to about 120 business leaders and others.

The most frequently used word there seems to be "the Crisis" - it's all the media and the politicians talk about apparently.


So much so that I had to ban its use from the Q&As!


In Greece there are all kinds of opportunities for business just like there are all around the world. I told my audience the same as I tell everyone that I truly believe this is the best time for business ever because it's almost nothing to do with what you did in the past, or where you are based, it's all about your focus for the future and that there are many, many opportunities out there - no matter where you are.


There are new markets arriving all the time and there is new technology coming at eye-watering speeds which businesses of any size, in any sector, can use to help differentiate themselves from the competition,  improve their operational efficiency or in some other way help their business success.


There has never been a time like it.


I said to my audience in Greece that I had just come back from Pakistan, and that I had recently spoken in Ethiopia and in both countries, I'm sure we would all agree, the problems facing CEOs are much larger than anything we see anywhere in Europe or in the West. Nevertheless, in both countries, I find business leaders that are positive, sparky, and with a can-do attitude - to not only to make their businesses successful but to help make their country successful.


In these countries they are jumping generations of technology and doing amazing things - because, let's face it, if you have broadband you can be anywhere in the world and be successful. For example Lahore in Pakistan has become a centre of app development for the world and there is much talk about "Silicon Safari" - a group of software engineers in Nairobi that are doing amazing things.


With all the negativity in the media  it must be our responsibility as CEOs, business leaders, trustees, and Boards to develop and embed in our organisations a "can-do" attitude and a focus on all the remarkable possibilities there are out there for us and our people.

It is surely incumbent upon us, also, to communicate more frequently and better with our people otherwise all they are seeing and hearing is the media negativity and "nonsense" about how bad things are.


A plea from me - please, from today, communicate more, better and in more detail with every single one of your people about the positives of what's going on in your business, the positives in the market, and your optimism for the future.


They deserve to hear that from you!