Ian Mason

Consider this in the same way you would an annual or bi-annual strategic review, as would happen in a corporate body - why should you think of yourself any differently if you're serious about your future?
Let's be fair, business ideas are easy to come by. There are very few people that haven't, at some point in their lives, said: "I should start a business doing that". Technology and the internet have only served to increase potential start-up opportunities for anyone with a computer and an internet connection. How many times have you thought of a great idea for an app?
Development of skills, of whatever nature, require the right environment and the right resources. For this reason, it is important that we utilise public spaces for this purpose, so that those that are motivated can achieve, regardless of their means, or their location - those in rural economies must not be left behind of course.
So you've got an idea and you want to turn it into a business. Everyone you talk to thinks it's brilliant and you spend a lot of time talking about your future plans - developing the brand, the second, third, tenth product - supporting the cause you care about with your profits. Maybe you talk about becoming a billionaire and living on a Caribbean island?!
It's not hard to dream as an entrepreneur. You think your product/service is the best there is out there and you think everyone is going to buy it. It's almost mandatory to think this way - you have to be excessively confident and determined in order to drive your new business on toward success.
Yet, as the lights came down on the final day of the 'greatest show on earth', I was left asking the uncomfortable question - what next for this great nation?
The Bank of England revised down its growth forecast for 2012 to virtually zero last week, reinforcing the raft of weak economic data released recently. The UK economy has now contracted in 5 out of the last 7 quarters and net growth since the end of the recession in 2009 has been negligible.
If you ask any small business to list the issues that most affect its daily activity, you would get very short odds on at least part of the answer being access to finance. Over the last five years, banks have been vilified both for lending too frivolously and too modestly - quite an achievement, even for a banker.