I was in a bar in Birmingham a few months ago, sharing a couple of drinks with clients when I was introduced to a gentleman who was a Bank Manager in one of the world’s largest financial institutions. It was fascinating to learn from him and ‘pick his brain’ on the economy and other factors that can directly affect your business.
He asked me how old I was, “Don’t let the hairline fool you, I am 28!” He was adamant that people of my age and generation were the key to the economic recovery. The place was full of successful businessmen and women yet he singled me out as one of the the most important people in the room. “Me?” I thought. (I even poured a glass of what he was drinking!) At the time I never really quite grasped the crux of his words.
Since then, I have had some time to consider and reflect upon what he meant. Businesses and business owners are and will be responsible for the economy improving. We need more entrepreneurs and business start ups, I think we assume because money isn’t as freely available as it once was, it’s not a good time to start a business or expand.
There are certainly no easy answers when it comes to running a business in a ‘downturn’. Do you persist with what you have, ride it out until the good times come back around? Or is here and now actually a great time to be expanding and investing in the future? With many companies choosing the former, this surely creates opportunities in your industry? In our industry; we have seen a number of businesses loosen their brand loyalty in the recession.
Most products and materials cost less in a recession. It is certainly worthwhile investigating whether your competitors have, in recent years, been weakened. There are also a number of highly qualified people without jobs.
So why did that Bank Manager say I was one of the most important people in the bar that afternoon? He said I was the future. I would be the one driving the company forward, choosing providers, constructing business plans, deciding how money is spent and invested etc. I never thought our business could have such an impact on the economy, when actually I am part of the best ‘up and coming storage’ company in the Midlands.
‘Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going, when money is spent elsewhere—it flows out, like a wound.”
We buy our archive boxes from Dudley and Atherstone; we purchase our racking from Walsall and Stourbridge, our office supplies are sourced in Birmingham. We use a haulage firm from Oldbury and we acquire our van fleet in Redditch and Bromsgrove. Our ISO Quality Service company are from Worcester. We source local suppliers intentionally, the price is usually very competitive, but it’s the things money can’t buy where we find true value; like client loyalty, reliability and satisfaction. These are the business values we reciprocate.
We are not a worldwide corporation; our money does not leave the region. We invest our money in the local economy and local people; it is something we are extremely very proud of. We employ local people and ensure they grow with us. We can all take responsibility and ‘play our part’ by sourcing our products, materials and services locally. Together – we can make a real difference, our fate is in our own hands.
The answer to the recovery is right on our doorstep.