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Perfect Storm? Or Perfect Timing?

To an impartial observer I must appear mad. A journalist would simply shake his head in astonishment: ‘he can’t have read a single word I’ve written…’

Why? Because I am optimistic.

More than that, I’m upbeat, confident, looking forward to the rest of the year. Bullish, buoyant – and I have absolute confidence in the members of TAB UK and their businesses.

Meanwhile the journalist shakes his head a second time, mutters ‘I’ll convince him’ and taps away at his keyboard…

SME’s facing 250% gas price hike!

Profits squeeze as inflation bites!

Small businesses suffer unprecedented cost assault!

A second journo sidles in. Looks over his colleague’s shoulder. Scoffs. Says, ‘Hold my beer…’ Delivers what must be the knock-out blow…

Businesses face ‘perfect storm’ as tax rises kick in!

A ‘perfect storm.’ An ‘assault.’ ‘Profits squeeze.’ ‘Price hike.’

Surely a man running a business – and with a vested interest in hundreds of other SMEs up and down the UK – couldn’t remain optimistic in the face of such logic?

I’m sorry, I can.

Optimistic, positive and confident.

Of course times are tough right now. Inflation, supply chain problems – which, thanks to the Shanghai ship-jam are not going to improve any time soon – those damn tax rises…

Yes, there are some challenges. But when are there not challenges? As I’ve written many times in this blog, if you waited for the perfect time to start your business you’d never start it. If you waited for the perfect time to take the next step you’d never take it…

The same is true in your personal life. Plenty of money in the bank? Kids no longer dependent on you? Partner 100% happy with your decision? No doubts? No worries? Just had a nice long holiday and you’re in perfect physical shape? Not one single member of TAB UK ticked all those boxes.

Instead they said, ‘I have to do this.’ ‘If I don’t do it I’ll regret it for the rest of my life.’ ‘I have to find out…’

And that’s the key point. Journalists are not entrepreneurs. They do not see the world as an entrepreneur sees the world. If they did… well, they’d be entrepreneurs.

Where a journalist sees a price hike an entrepreneur sees a cost that needs to be managed. Where a journalist sees a profit squeeze an entrepreneur checks his KPIs – and reacts accordingly.

Above all, where a journalist sees a perfect storm an entrepreneur sees an opportunity.

Let me give you one example. Yes, there are supply-chain problems. But the flip side of this is that business – especially manufacturing – will return to the UK.

Back in 2015 accountants and management consultants EY published a report – ‘Re-shoring: Time to Seize the Opportunity’ – which identified a ‘once in a generation’ chance to bring business back to this country.

EY’s report outlined a possible £15bn boost to the economy and 315,000 new jobs as it identified the potential for repatriating manufacturing to several regions, with the North West, South East and West Midlands set to benefit most. It suggested the aerospace, defence and automotive industries as those that could get the biggest boost.

Who is to say that the same cannot happen now? If there was the opportunity to bring manufacturing back home in 2015, then surely there is the same opportunity – and a definite need – now.

So it’s very easy to shuffle off to your keyboard and tap out ‘Shanghai will wreck your summer.’ The entrepreneur, though, finds the EY report and thinks, ‘Why not? it won’t be easy – but we could do that…’

No-one is denying that there are real challenges – especially in some sectors of the economy – but the endless doom and gloom in the media simply does not match what I hear and see on an almost daily basis. Both analytically and anecdotally TAB members are saying great things at the moment: that’s why I’m feeling so positive.

That’s not being smug. It’s not being complacent. It’s simply to say that peer support – the monthly feedback and scrutiny of half a dozen battle-hardened businessmen and women – works.

And it will work this year, next year – and for as many years as any of us are in business.

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