Always look on the bright side

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool FSB branch.

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I had a bit of a Monty Python moment this week when I read about the Government coming down hard on companies that continue to send annoying unsolicited PPI messages down our telephone lines.

Do you remember the scene in the film Life of Brian – “what have the Romans ever done for us” – when they reeled off all the positives that the Romans had introduced such as straight roads and aqueducts etc?

The upshot was even though the Romans brought many benefits, the People’s Front of Judea, were still unhappy. Something I read this week made me think of successive governments, regulatory bodies and quangos, replacing the Romans in making the business world a better place to trade in.

Consumers are protected from uninvited and unscrupulous conmen offering unwanted products and services, businesses are not allowed to make unsolicited phone calls, door to door selling or even send mail shots because they will be punished.

Neighbourhood schemes have been set up to deter door to door selling, and unsolicited free papers, magazines and leaflets. These rules have been put in place to protect everybody and ensure that high business standards and practices are maintained.

So apart from not allowing businesses to telephone, email, snail mail, fax or even advertise your products and services on leaflet drops, what have governments (not Romans) ever done for us small businesses?

Well basically the answer is nothing because it is neither their job nor part of their remit to help you to advertise and market your business.

Small businesses must adapt to survive and they can start by looking at, and emulating, how their competitors trade.

Then we can all look at the bright side of life!

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