As a bit of a writer I’m fascinated by the way language evolves and love to get new words and TLAs (whilst also trying to avoid phrases that become over-worked: if I hear another star tell me how ‘privileged’ they are I will have to fight the urge to bop him on the nose). Did you know that BoP now stands for Bottom of Pyramid, the poorest in our world? But it is also shorthand for Balance of Payments which has been an issue for the UK longer than there has been a BoP class.
I addressed this issue a couple of years ago and suggested that we provide assistance to SMEs for their export activities. It seems that once again my idea has been taken up albeit on this occasion by a Swiss economics minister whom I have not been privileged (oops) to meet .
Here is an extract from Swissinfo, courtesy of my Google alert:
‘ In June, Schneider-Ammann instructed the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) to waive the requirement for a cash contribution for R&D funding applications for heavily export-oriented SMEs with effect from this August. “Now we plan to stock up the CTI’s grant funds,” he told the Schweiz am Sonntag newspaper.
My suggestion was (and still is) that we create an export credit scheme for SMEs modelled on our R&D tax credit scheme as a way of boosting exports. But they say, or more specifically David Gauke (whom I have, er, met) says that ‘they won’t let us’ because it may fall foul of the EU’s rules regarding state aid. Well it might and then again it might not. After all if we can have R&D tax credits there’s a prima facie case for allowing export tax credits. I’m sure there will be a set of rules restricting it but ‘twere ever thus.
I have no desire to move to Switzerland, largely because when I twisted my knee on their ski slopes the driver of the snowmobile tried to prevent my wife accompanying me down, since she wasn’t injured. But I think that as we start to debate our future in the EU and we look at other countries nearby that aren’t in it, we need clear answers to proposals such as this since they will enable us to make an informed choice: does the EU help or hinder this country. Leaders please don’t dance around these issues. After all ever since the celebration of the 1997 election victory you’re not known as being great boppers.
But let’s not forget that he wasn’t the only one who trusted the statistics that he’d been given for the past weeks and months that showed quite a different position. Matthew Parris had started the election campaign believing in a Tory bounce but even he lost sight of this, and the only pollsters who saw it refused to believe it too.
And when I heard David Cameron urging a Tory outright victory a few days before voting, it sounded like standard political spin, ultra-positive thinking reserved only for zealots.
But when they turn out to be right, zealots become people of deeply held belief rather than a bit mad.
I’m no pollster but I am a businessman with knowledge of creating business statistics. In helping growing businesses our aim is to get numbers that match the feel of the MD for the business, without compromising objectivity or professionalism. If the company believes that it’s profitable but the accounts show a loss then careful handling is required. Or if it’s doing well but about to run out of cash, the position needs to be arrived at step by step.
When done properly the MD, and the rest of the board, understand and accept the liquidity position, even if there’s quite a bit of technical stuff to digest. And it’s the same with the electorate. My view is that we understand what is going on in the economy despite, not because of, the media and other reporting agencies (such as pollsters) that try to simplify but fail to explain. If we don’t understand something then we don’t ask Smith as Griff Rhys-Jones, Alas, used to do, we Google until we get the answer. Whether or not we were capable and well-informed before, we certainly are now. But there’s more that can be done. That’s why WealthBeing will include an on-line calculator to work out what your business needs to earn in order to achieve your personal financial goals, despite a retiring politician saying that such calculators are not necessary.
Unshakeable belief supported by realistic, but not always real, assumptions are what create success especially if those targets seem just out of reach. And if I’m wrong in that then I’ll eat MY hat; so long as , like Paddy, I can specify the type – not marzipan for me, pork pie.