2015 - The year of the back-street business!
Every year the final couple of weeks before Christmas brings the usual round of forecasts and predictions. Normally offering a mixture of interesting professional foresight from those who seem to know what they're talking about, along with the typical self-promotions from the self-obsessed.
To add to the disingenuity and mystery of the delight and despair that might be in store for business owners and their advisers in 2015, here are our devilishly accurate predictions for what COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN next year - including some patronising generalisations written with no authority whatsoever.
1) The small business meltdown - failure at the speed of light
If 2014 was a record year for new start ups and small business creation then 2014 will be a year notable for the speed at which people strive to get out of the hopeless business they've recently started. That's if they haven't already failed faster than they can utter 'voluntary administration'. The growing ranks of the reluctant, miserable and desperately skint self-employed who have no business in them will be brushing up their CVs and interview techniques as they apply to get back into the real world with a steady job stacking shelves in a supermarket or at a call centre.
2) Passion fruit for business - more gurus and experts
Business 'gurus' have been around for years, generally imparting the benefit of their expertise on an unsuspecting business world following a short business career, a sale of their business for an undisclosed amount, or after writing a book. 2015 will see continued growth in the abundance of gurus and small business 'experts'. Small business experts are easily recognisable by use of the 'expert' label they apply to themselves and typically work in the PR field. These experts will generally be found impressing civil servants with waffle about their passion for small business, particularly at lunch time and early evening in trendy London wine or smoothie bars.
3) Same old, same old - a nation of hairdressers and consultants
With gurus, experts and civil servants advising everyone to find the 'Business In You' by turning their hobby or freakish personal habits into a niche enterprise, over the next year we will see tens of thousands of under 25s starting up as hairdressers or app developers. After all, almost everyone needs a haircut and now that everyone has a Smartphone, it makes no economic sense to waste time advising people to start up in a niche that nobody wants or understands. 2015 will also be the year that the total number of freelance consultants operating in the UK finally exceeds the number of all other types of business put together (it was already close to that level in 2014). However, the UK economy will be in safe hands as a result.
4) The end of the charity shop
The high street has been blighted over the last few years with the seemingly unstoppable opening of charity shops located on either side of every other hairdressing salon. But the charity shop sector will go into a steep and terminal decline in 2015 as they all gradually run out of stock when donations grind to a halt. Charities will suffer and close as an increasingly uncharitable population hangs on to their old clothes instead of buying new and sells their unwanted stuff on eBay or at car boot sales to make sure everyone in the family has a new iPhone and tablet.
5) Death of the high street, birth of the back street
With the high street officially cream-crackered, 2015 will be the year when a boom in back-street business really takes off. With rents as cheap as cheese, no congestion charges, no trendy middle-class boutiques to create the wrong impression the back-street enterprise will come into its own - especially tattoo parlours, dodgy massage and tanning salons, greasy spoon cafes, bike repair shops, cobblers, second-hand bucket shops, and seedy-looking offices with blinds always drawn during daylight - which will spring up en masse taking advantage of the nation's preference for buying stuff that's far cheaper than in Tesco and Aldi.
6) Going local, not global
As experts and civil servants urge everyone to use the 'amazing technology' at their disposal (Amazon and eBay) to reach a worldwide global customer base, a growing number of less delusional business owners will have a light bulb switched on in 2015 and realise that their customers are not based in Beijing or Brazil, but actually live just down the street. Gardeners, window cleaners, handymen, home de-clutter services, dog sitters and of course hairdressers will realise that their prospects - and plenty of them - are in fact based within walking distance of their front door. And anyone wanting to set up their own shop will realise there are some 'amazing' cheap rents available in all those empty retail units previously occupied by charity shops.
7) Chasing the chav pound
As our nation's next crop of lazy and overweight youngsters grow into working age next year, any of the UK's fat chav generation that are lucky enough to have jobs along with the three million under 25s on benefits will become the demographic that business owners who really understand marketing begin to target. With shopping at Pound stretcher and anywhere on the back street the place to be seen for those with cash in their pockets the most successful business owners in 2015 will not bother opening before 2pm and chase the 'chav pound' by using imaginative, back-street trading names such as Fred's Dina, Brown's Tans and Buckets 4U to keep the till ringing.
8) Start up muppets and no-hopers
With no budget to educate, train or advise business start ups properly for yet another year, the UK's hard pushed front line of face-to-face business advisers will spend more time than in 2014 dealing with unprecedented numbers of unemployable, unwashed half-wits wanting to start up as self-employed entrepreneurs and apprentice celebrities. As a result, during 2015 a new Government standard-setting body will be formed in response to dealing with business plans from illiterate and innumerate muppets who have already racked up £100,000 in debt and not a penny in turnover. However, market forces will prevail and ensure these no-hopers leave the door open for the UK's entrepreneurial illuminate to turn their passion into profit in niche sectors such as sweating yoga teachers, pet civil partnership organisers and chav-friendly smoothie bars.
9) Big eats small - corporate wolves in sheep's clothing
In 2015, the call will continue to go out from small business experts and civil servants to the UK's biggest corporates to 'help' the nation's small business sector. Corporate UK will be urged to offer more discounts, faster payment terms, guarantees to buy from British small firms, free advertising, free retail space and similar corporate snake oil. Our captains of industry will not be able to believe their luck - taking advantage of unlimited free PR, 'borrowing' smaller firms' ideas, paying their bills even later than usual, 'supporting' British firms but continuing buy from China and Mexico at a fraction of the cost, and of course 'rescuing' their smaller suppliers just as they run out of cash. This will continue to look impressive in the media and keep the Government-subsidised PR sector fully occupied for another year.
10) Prop-up Britain - the business support comfort blanket
Finally, our blinkered and guru-smitten business support policy makers will continue to feed us with the incessant 'enterprise-for-all' cack and the comforting message that they are 'right behind' the nation of small business owners who prop up our economy and will generate the most growth and new jobs next year. And, even though deep down inside you accept that being self-employed or a small business owner often means not earning enough to make ends meet, as long as you are paying someone else more than you pay yourself to feed your family, you are proud to be part of what being a British micro-enterprise is all about. No doubt we will continue to be kept safe and warm by the Department for Business and small business experts in 2015.
Over the last 30 years we have been too busy with our sleeves rolled up at the coal face of micro-business support. Continuing to work with and support front line practitioners and professionals in the real business world in 2015 will be much more interesting and far more productive than talking to those who do not understand or will not accept the unpalatable facts about enterprise and entrepreneurship.
If/when you take on board a Non-Executive Director/Consultant/adviser, make sure they are successful in business and life in general/skilled/experienced/entertaining with fun to make you successful in 2015.
What are your plans for 2015 for your success?
Sharing information from many sources for your success.
About the Author Colin Thompson
Colin is a former successful Managing Director of Transactional/Document Manufacturing Plants, Document Management/Workflow Solutions companies and other organisations, former Group Chairman of the Academy for Chief Executives, Non-Executive Director, Mentor - RFU Leadership Academy, Mentor - Coventry University, Mentor - The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, author/writer Business Advice Section for IPEX, Graphic Display World, NewsUSA, GraphicStart, many others globally, helping companies raise their `bottom-line` and `increase cash flow`. Plus, helping individuals to be successful in business and life in general. Author of several publications, research reports, guides, business and educational models on CD-ROM/Software/PDF and over 2000 articles and 35 books published on business and educational subjects worldwide. Plus, International Speaker/Visiting University Professor.
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Written and submitted by:
Dr Colin Thompson
Direct: + 44 (0) 121 247 4589
Mobile: 07831 588310
Office: + 44 (0) 121 244 1802
The Cavendish Academy
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2015 Year Business!