The Year of the Back-Street Business in 2013 and Beyond!
Every year the final couple of weeks before Christmas brings the usual round of forecasts and predictions 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. We are now nearly six months into 2013 and what is the future of the next six months and beyond?
To add to the disingenuity and mystery of the delight and despair that might be in store for business owners and their advisers in 2013, here are our devilishly accurate predictions for what COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN - including some patronising generalisations written with no authority whatsoever.
The business meltdown - failure at the speed of light
If 2012 was a record year for new start ups and small business creation then 2013 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. These businesses need to take on board Non-Excellent Directors to guide them to safety!
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. 2013 will see continued growth in the abundance of gurus and business 'experts'. 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 business, particularly at lunch time and early evening in trendy London wine or smoothie bars. The `real` experts are the people who have started, turned-around, re-engineered businesses to be successful. Take on board these `real` skilled/experienced people and you will be successful!
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. 2013 will also be the year that the total number of freelance consultants operating globally finally exceeds the number of all other types of business put together (it was already close to that level in 2012). However, our economy will be in safe hands as a result. Skilled/experienced people who are successful are the people that will help you be more successful in the future!
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 2013 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. The tables are turning where people will sell more than give possessions away due to the electronic highway of selling!
Death of the high street, birth of the back street
With the high street officially cream-crackered, 2013 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 cheaper than in Tesco and Aldi. The day of the electronic way of selling and buying is here and rapidly growing globally by the minute!
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 2013 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, dogsitters 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. The day of the independent entrepreneur is here and growing rapidly globally!
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 Poundstretcher and anywhere on the back street the place to be seen for those with cash in their pockets the most successful business owners in 2013 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. We live in a rapidly changing society to survive and become successful!
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 2012 dealing with unprecedented numbers of unemployable, unwashed half-wits wanting to start up as self-employed entrepreneurs and apprentice celebrities. As a result, during 2013 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 illuminati to turn their passion into profit in niche sectors such as sweating yoga teachers, pet civil partnership organisers and chav-friendly smoothie bars. Take on board successful business people to help you be successful!
Big eats small - corporate wolves in sheep's clothing
In 2013, 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. What is required is excellent successful business people to organise these events not civil servants!
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 2013!
Over the last 20 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 2013 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.
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The Universal Law of Success and Achievement - start living the life you have always wanted to live by taking on board this comprehensive publication `A Wealth of Knowledge for Your Success` is a comprehensive book for `your` success. Details on www.cavendish-mr.org.uk
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Back-Street Business in 2013 and Beyond!