As a UK service exporter, I feel somewhat aggrieved. Overlooked and invisible. Despite the strong and strengthening performance of service sector exports, we are often perceived as the poor relation to manufacturers. Indeed the government usually refers to the service sector as 'invisible exports', quite apt when considering where the focus of current investment is placed.
This week Sajid Javid announced new measures to support entrepreneurs and job creation in his first speech as Business Secretary. Cutting red tape by £10billion would make an almighty impact on the growth of small businesses and I hope this rhetoric has lit the flame for a future all-encompassing entrepreneurial Britain. This is the start of a very exciting journey for us all.
This week, major business leaders will gather in Paris for the Business and Climate Summit. This meeting is being held around six months before the Paris Climate Conference, COP21, the aim of which is well known: to reach a universal agreement limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2°C or 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
Most owner-directors of companies will recall 2008 without much pleasure. I'm one of them. It was the year when the credit crunch bared its teeth, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and the global economy spiralled downwards. And as for 2009...Well, that was a write-off year for many small businesses.
Back in 2013, a high-profile financier, with more accolades to his name than zeroes in his salary, "came out". Two years prior, another followed suit. What they both shared in their high-profile roles was matched by one other significant factor: they both "came out", of course, in admitting to mental health problems.
So what went wrong? Was the strategy flawed? Most commentators now say that targeting a narrow section of voters meant alienating the bulk of the electorate; that Labour were making a Ken Loach film when they should have been making Fast and Furious 8.
Concurrent policies to build 200,000 starter homes are to be applauded, but given the dismal record of housebuilding over the last decades, perhaps the applause should be put on hold until some front door keys have actually been handed over. Otherwise, how odd to focus energy on encouraging those with a subsidised roof over their heads also to own it, at a stroke removing availability to others in need.
Here is my challenge, to you and myself: lets not become a nation of zombie offices. Lets unplug our headphones, put down our phones, resist the urge to email and make sure we all take the time to speak to one another, share ideas and collaborate where we can everyday. Not only will this create much healthier and more vibrant offices, but we will be more productive too.
Phew, the political uncertainty is over, and many businesses will now be pressing ahead with sales and mergers long postponed. But are they ready? The honest answer for some is that they probably do not know, but do have a sense that the time is right.
So whatever keeps you going share that with those less fortunate and with less depth in their own personal bottle of drive and inspiration. We all need a little help from time to time. One of my daughters has also recently told me I am her inspiration, a share that made my year and certainly gave my drive and inspiration banks a boost!
As the world of business evolves at rapid speed, it's not uncommon to find yourself feeling overwhelmed with eager competitors. The initial enthusiasm and determination chips away and it can become a challenge to re-motivate yourself, even more so when plagued with doubts on whether you or your business is good enough.
The election result was a big shock: no one predicted the Conservatives would win an outright majority and no one forecast the SNP tsunami. It has shown us that the old rules no long apply. What once was does not have to be. Despite the perceived political differences, if towns and cities across the UK grasp that, the future doesn't have to be blue.
We need our Party and next leader to celebrate our entrepreneurs and wealth creators and not leave the impression they are part of the problem. Economic competence combined with social justice. We learned that lesson finally, surely, after 18 years in the wilderness between 1979 and 1997.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week so a good time to reflect on the crucial role businesses can play in supporting mental heath issues. There's not just a moral case but an unquestionable business case for doing so: each year one in four people experience a common mental health condition - such as stress, anxiety or depression - and the overall cost of mental health to the UK economy is estimated at £70 billion per year.
feel privileged to be writing this post at my own computer in my own home with a roof over my head, having just had a shower with clean, hot running water, eaten a good breakfast and earning enough to live on, as well as to give and still have fun. I encourage you to count your blessings, and your money, and decide if you could do more, no matter who is allegedly running the country.
Savvy businesses are beginning to understand that well structured apprenticeships don't just help young people to get on the career ladder - they actually offer an immediate financial return on the business' investment