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Posts in Leadership
Why are we so afraid of the 'C' word?

Last week I read with interest an article from the Evening Standard on a social media outburst by Holly Willoughby after the BAFTA's. She was rightly pointing out the hypocrisy of paparazzi taking photographs of female celebrities to get 'upskirt' style shots - having photographed them only a few hours earlier with white roses to promote calling #timesup on sexual harassment and gender inequality in the entertainment industry.

She said "...times apparently up on #timesup", but the problem for me is that I don't think #timesup or any of the other similar campaigns have really yet begun.

In this particular arena there have been numerous (and unsettling) rising trends of late. Gender pay gap reporting highlights that women are doing lower paid work, the now defunct President's Club fundraiser is revealed to be a cesspit of sexual harassment that's more befitting of the Victorian era than the 21st century, equal pay disputes are now reaching class action proportions...and I haven't even touched on the historic and current sexual harassment claims emerging across multiple industries - something akin to Operation Yewtree whereby this behaviour is now known to be endemic, and has been for years.

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Red flags quiz - how do you know when it's time to get help?

Recently I've been out and about attending seminars, meeting businesses and talking with other professional advisers about trends in the market.

One of the overriding themes that has really struck me is the number of SME owners that have struggled to overcome their internal barriers to accessing help and progressing their business.

Issues range from the classic "I saw the signs, but I just didn't want them to be true" along to "I had no idea things were going wrong, it was just outside my expertise so how could I have known?"

It got me thinking that it really is incumbent on professional advisers to help SMEs spot the signs but that also every business is different, so owners need guidance and principles, not rules to live by...

So take our quick quiz below and see how healthy your red flags are!

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Monzo: Lessons for a start up

If you haven’t heard of Monzo, they’re a high profile fintech start up – a challenger bank – rising to consumer fame by offering a fee-free pre-paid card service.

Like most start ups in this category, they’ve experienced massive growth in a short time. At the beginning of July this year it hit 240,000 customers, they are projecting between 500,000 and 800,000 accounts by the end of the year, and their business model is as old as time:

  1. Begin as a loss leader: buy the market to build a massive customer base as an innovative new thing, pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap

  2. Bring new products online: grow the portfolio of products with profitable revenue streams

  3. Sell, sell, sell: trade on your unique and different brand to convert customers to these new products.

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Diversity and other buzz-words - a small business guide

*content warning - this article contains gross generalisations throughout!*

This weekend our fair capital city will host the Pride in London parade - and it got me thinking about 'diversity' and why it's so important for smaller enterprises in particular not to overlook this important aspect of doing business.

A common theme from pride parades all over the country is that often smaller businesses don't participate. They simply don't have the critical mass of a large corporate - they often don't have employee groups (such as LGBT, gender equality, ethnic minority, disability), and they can sometimes be, dare I say it, not very diverse.

But that doesn't mean as a small enterprise you shouldn't feel the need to embrace the concept. Indeed you only have to look as far as McKinsey's research to see that 'diverse' companies significantly outperform their non-diverse counterparts. So if diversity isn't on your agenda, then perhaps surviving the next generation isn't either...

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My career story - an interview with James McMillan

It’s a completely different way of thinking – you have to balance your own rich experience with the experience of others in order to make decisions. Distinguishing your own professional judgement with what other people know is exciting and gives you a great opportunity to learn from others. There is also a fine line between developing a leadership style and sticking to yours. There will always be feedback of how you could do better or approach something differently but there comes a time in everyone’s career where you actually want to make a conscious choice to say “I like the way I do this” or “this is the way I want to work” and stick by it. That’s tough to do at first!

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