Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap…

Hello

It’s been a good while since I last put my thoughts into a newsletter… sorry, I’ve been incredibly busy.

And do you know why that is?

… I’ve been taking some new technologies by the scruff of the neck and integrating them into my business – and it is that, rather than a glut of insolvencies (I wish!), which has been taking up my time.

The title of this newsletter is the start of a quotation by Robert Louis Stephenson, it ends with …. ‘but by the seeds you plant’.

I’ve been planting a lot of seeds.

You see so much is happening out there on the new technology front, great stuff that could be integrated into my business, that I’m going to be making it the subject of several of my next few newsletters – you see there’s a chance that you, or the people you know, could benefit from my triumphs and my pain (some of my seeds fell on barren ground).  My newsletters will be in the nature of both observations and tips.

So why, when there are a lot of other important things that I could be doing, did I decide to focus on new technologies and for so long?  These are the first of the observations – my why.  Because you might just share some of them.

The first reason is

… the pace of change in technology – and thus in me maintaining my competitive edge (just how important is that for a small businesses?) – has accelerated massively in recent years.  And it’s only going to get faster.  I simply had to invest my money and time here if I wanted to maintain my lifestyle and retain the control I, and not others, have over my life.

The second reason is

… by bringing me into regular contact with people outside of my profession and normal sphere of operations who are great at technology, some of what they know and do rubs off on me such that by doing different things and the same differently I get to create my own opportunities to win some fantastic new ‘quality’ business that would otherwise be invisible to me.  Unless I do this unpaid r&d type work exploring the new technologies there would be no high margin work – I’d be scrabbling around doing the low margin work my competitors do.

The third reason is

… in the past if a business were not to embrace new ways of working or new markets, most of the time it would only hurt them slowly, over time.  Nowadays, I don’t think that it is always the case, the pain caused by ignoring new technologies and ways of working is acute, sharper and quicker to come on, it’s not chronic.

The fourth reason is…

… Having low overheads means I have both the time and resources to make it my focus.  This is the first instance of being in the right place at the right time, it’s luck, and most others do not have this luxury.  It would be negligent of me if I didn’t take advantage of this massive commercial advantage.

The fifth reason…

… my nature and a lack of accountability.  This is where I’m lucky again.  As a member of Generation X, I didn’t grow up with a mobile phone in one hand and a rattle in the other so technology isn’t something that comes easy to me.  But unlike most others in my peer group who have targets to meet, are accountable to someone else, or need to maintain an aura of invincibility, I am prepared to make mistakes, Lots of them!

Here are a few questions for you…

  • How important to you is getting a good grasp of new and emerging technologies either in your business maintaining or gaining a competitive edge or in you maintaining your lifestyle?
  • Do you share any of my 5 own personal reasons for this focus? Or do you have your own compelling reasons?
  • Are you and your business where you need to be in order to attract in the sort of opportunities you really want?
  • Should you be spending your time with a different set of people/organisations to gain a different mindset?
  • What new, high margin, products or services could you create by adopting technologies borrowed from outside of your sector?
  • What’s your attitude to spending, even potentially wasting, money or time on this sort of thing?

I have a request… quite an important one…

It’s partly to do with GDPR, it’s partly to do with me measuring how effective my newsletters really are.  I’m having a massive clear out of my circulation list.  I shall be deleting all the contacts my system is telling me aren’t regularly reading my stuff.  So if this is you, or if you read from mobile (my systems don’t always recognise you’re opening things), but you still want to receive stuff from me, please email me separately asking to remain.  If you’re a new reader and aren’t yet receiving my newsletters direct, but would like to, click on the following link to subscribe.  Click here

Finally, because sometimes life is just too serious, do you remember this classic comedy sketch about new technology? Ronnie Corbett and Harry Enfield in the greengrocers.

Fantastic!

Hope you continue reading, and if you have any insolvency business, I’m still here!

All the best

Paul Brindley
Midlands Business Recovery
T 01902 672323
M 07813 102014
paul@midlandsbusinessrecovery.co.uk

Credit union still banking with the Co-Op Bank?

You might have seen today’s – I have to say not completely unexpected – news news that the Co-Op is up for sale.

It’s been coming for a long time.

So, you’re a director of a credit union that is still banking with the Co-Op that still has hundreds of thousands of pounds in it?

Let me ask you something …Why is that?

Is it simply that because you believe in the co-operative movement you will support it where ever you can?

That’s great, the co-operative movement has done and continues to do a lot of really very good things.  But the problem is if you’d been acting on purely commercial grounds – which is the test you are required to satisfy as a director – you would probably have moved the money out of the Co-Op a long time ago.

Let me ask you, given that there’s no certainty that the Co-Op Bank can be sold, and won’t instead be either broken up or go bust, do you think you might be playing Russian roulette with your members’ money given today’s news – which after all followed a pretty inglorious few years (facts like this will be relevant to the points below, it’s not as if you’re in the dark about the Co-Op Bank’s problems or that they’ve happened overnight)?

The point is you might only have a short period of time now to get your members’ money out of the Co-Op and into something safer…

And if you don’t do so, let me ask you another question…

If your credit union should be forced under by the problems at the Co-Op Bank and your liquidator took you personally to court for negligence, would you be able to defeat such an action?

It might just be worthwhile you asking your lawyers this question… you see, your following a principle that is not built on hard commercial grounds is probably no defence.

Oh, and an afterthought… some directors of your credit union will have deeper pockets than others and will therefore be the main targets of such a negligence action.  Are you one of the prime targets? You see it’s easier for board members who have nothing to lose personally to stick to their principles, but if your home and savings are on the line, then it’s a completely different proposition.

Credit Unions – it’s far from good news, in fact it’s awful!

I don’t know if you saw the news today?  – How the UK’s credit union assets hit £3 billion for the first time ever?  – click here to see the news from ABCUL

Great news, eh?

Well no…

Why?

Well, today, yes the very same day that ABCUL announced this ‘great news’ about assets, a letter hit my desk from the Co-Op Bank saying that they are reducing the interest they will be paying on bank balances me as liquidator of credit unions, and indeed credit unions themselves, hold with them.

The interest rate?    O.03% on balances up £500k.  That’s right, one thirty third of one per cent in interest.

To put it bluntly, bugger all on balances most credit unions might be holding with the Co-Op Bank…about one fiftieth of the inflation rate.

Please let me ask you something…

What’s exactly is the point of credit unions putting their savers’ money with the Co-Op?

Why do they do it?

The vast bulk of the £1.23 billion in credit union saver deposits – the ‘good news’ is its ‘s by 7.8% over the previous year –  yes, one and a quarter billion pounds, a lot of money, and counting! – is earning nothing for savers, not after the credit union costs.

I tell you what the point of credit unions putting their savers’ money with the Co-Op and them paying nothing in interest is…

The Co-Op is bust…

And if it goes under – and it is a shambles – the FSCS also goes under, its pocket is simply not big enough to cope with the Co-Op’s failure.

Put another way, all you savers in credit unions are propping up a bust bank because (1) Co-Operatives are incapable of surviving in this country today in the way they used to be able to, and management are incapable of turning the Co-Op Bank around, it’s a shambles internally; (2) The FSCS cannot pay out if the Co-Op goes bust – we’re talking about a bail-in, rather than bail out (a bail out, some government organisation pays you back all your money: a bail in, you do not get all your money back, you have to write some of it off, you might be told that the £1,00 you had with so and so bank is no only £500.

If Co-Op goes bust, there will be a run on all of the banks.  Co-Op is propped up by credit union savers’ and other ‘soft’ money – if you’re a saver in a credit union, have you really asked where the credit union puts your money?  Hopefully time will paper over the cracks at the Co-Op…- but will it, and why haven’t you been told that your money is at risk, why are you being told that credit unions are a good place for you to put your money safely?

Thanks to all you savers, old and new, you are propping up a bust bank that we cannot afford for it to fail because the system can’t cope with it doing so!

Oh, did no one, not ABCUL, not any credit union, tell you why you’re being encouraged in?

It’s a huge game of pass the parcel!

If you are a saver, you are playing the game, the problem is you’ve no chance of winning a prize, because the music will never stop when you’re holding the parcel.   Instead you’ll be left holding all the wrapping paper for which you will have paid handsomely, and you’ll not get your money back because you will be bailed in…

Still happy with the advice you got to ‘save’ with that credit union?

Will you be suing the advisor for bad advice, like the PPI sellers of yesteryear?

Worried about going bankrupt? – now do it online!

A lot of people are worried about going bankrupt, often for the wrong reasons – the law and experience of bankruptcy aren’t what they used to be; they’re worried about the stigma; they are worried about appearing in fron of a judge.

Really, as long as people filled out their debtor’s petition abouit right – don’t you just hate that word ‘debtor’? – I know I do – they never appeared in front of the court, it was a closed door exercise while they sat in the waiting room – yet it will still probably be a long time before people realise it’s nowhere near as bad as you might think, as those who have gone through it recently are, in comparable terms, few and far between.  But finally there’s some movement on the court side…

Over recent years all aspects of government have been moving lock stock and barrel online in an effort to save costs and improve efficiency. Finally, after much talking, people with big financial problems are able to petition for their own bankruptcy online, there’s no need to go to court, thus one of the major obstacles that put off people doing what they really need to be doing has been removed.

Will we see more people going bankrupt now that they can sit at a computer and press a few buttons?  I suspect so, but not in great numbers because the stigma of bankruptcy aka ‘failure’ remains – it’s a British thing, tell any American how you feel and they will just laugh at you.

If you need to make yourself bankrupt, just go to https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-bankruptcy 

As you will see, it’s a https ie should be a safe address

If you’ve been putting it off and really ought to do it but have been worried abouit facing up to people, just do it!

 

Paul Brindley