Every day, my inbox contains at least one, and often up to half a dozen, of these missives, all designed (natch) to persuade me what a credible operator and genuine help the sender is.
I've been collecting a few gems from the plethora of the last fortnight, just to labour the point:
50% of small business owners are cautious about employing young women.
(No..I wonder why)
Consumers are still buying during the recession but they are 'buying differently'. (Well beat me over the head with a wet fish, who'd have thought it).
Late payment and bad debt are the scourge of business. (No suggestion as to what to actually do about it though).
Monitoring what your competitors are doing is essential for businesses as they grow. (Who'd have thought it?)
Oh and here's my favourite, from BT: React to your customers. Fast. (If at all; someone with an advanced degree in irony must be working for them)
Now frankly, if you need and/or welcome advice like this, you deserve to go to the wall, recession or no recession. And if you've got the time to read this guff, you could do with investing in a time management course, for starters.
So what is the point of this, you may be asking (assuming, quite possibly wrongly, that you're still with me)? Well I thought it was about time that someone started a forum to get off their chest all the nonsense, platitudes and laziness that passes for business advice. Think of it as The Daily Mash of the business world, but not quite as rude or offensive. (Never heard of The Daily Mash? www.thedailymash.co.uk)
And with at least one piece of blindingly obvious perception per issue.
So what's the today's magic message? Just this: businesses which are well run thrive in any business environment. All this talk of credit crunch and recession is a complete blind. The businesses that go down are, on the whole (and there are always exceptions to any rule), those that were going down in any event - they just go a bit faster when times are tough. Woolworth's? MFI? Basket cases for years. Right now, half of all businesses are having a better year than last year. You don't read that in the papers because good news sells nowt in Fleet Street. Sort out your own systems and processes, for every department, and you'll likely be one of them.
Cash flow an issue? Don't complain about the banks or the government: go collect it yourself. If it's your biggest problem, put your best operator on the case.
Not enough sales? What are you actually doing about it? Many small businesses do not have any dedicated sales resource and rely on the phone continuing to ring 'like it always has.' In a court of law, it's called recklessness.
Team morale low? Look in the mirror: most office environments, in whatever size of business, are a direct reflection of the owner/manager's personality and management style.
If you run a tight ship and keep doing the right things, the business will thrive. If you're not sure whether you're doing all the right things, ask an expert (that would be me, then).