I had an exciting time yesterday; I was interviewed on local radio! No, that is not what got me excited, this is not me having an ego trip!
First off, let me thank Mark Sephton for inviting me on to his Talk Business show, on the Coventry station Plus Radio. It was a very enjoyable experience, but the reason I am now so excited is that our talking on air stimulated a grand idea… Profit Coventry 2012
One of the areas that we discussed was the effect on the economy of hosting the Olympics. We did not totally agree on the national impact that the Olympics 2012 would have. We did, however, agree that Coventry’s localised economy would see significant benefit from being one of the co-host cities. That is what sparked my thinking… I was aware of the positivity behind ‘Godiva Awakes’, so what else can we revive?
The major challenge right now is to drag ourselves out of the trough of recession. Especially here in Coventry, where the local economy has taken such a bashing of recent times. Where will jobs come from, and how will we fund the improvements to our environment and lifestyle that we would all like to see? Most pundits agree it is the small to medium sized business sector that will have the greatest impact for us, especially on job creation. And that is good news in my book because the smaller businesses are far more nimble, and quick to react to fresh positive situations. By contrast the large corporations are more like an oil tanker, slow to change either course or speed. That said I am delighted by the recent upturn in the fortunes of local engineering manufacturing businesses, and in particular those that are quite closely involved with the automotive industry. I feel sure that all of Coventry will join me in mourning the passing of mass car production here in the city. That is the background to my big idea, my personal crusade even, Profit Coventry 2012
So what does this entail, what am I hoping to achieve, and how will we do this? Profit Coventry 2012 is all about raising the game for the business community, both in Coventry and the immediate surrounding area, raising it from so-so to Gold Medal standard! What I aim to achieve is a thriving and growing business sector, based in and around the city of Coventry, the like of which we haven’t seen for decades.
Is this a rather bold challenge, an overambitious undertaking? I think not. After all, Coventry has a fine tradition of prospering entrepreneurs. As to how we would achieve all of this, a Chinese proverb aptly puts it “a 1000 mile journey starts with a single step”. Rather than attempting to deliver all the required assistance alone, I fully expect to organise assistance, pulling in the services of others who have the relevant skill-sets to help individual businesses on a case-by-case basis.
What is the scale of my ambitious project? I would love to see 100% of Coventry businesses quickly grow by 10%. That is totally unrealistic, just not viable, if only because we could never manage the resources to help every business make that much improvement in performance. What I expect to find is that the more significant and successful businesses will likely supply the early eager participants, the prime movers if you like, who will blaze the trail, and by so doing will encourage wider uptake a few months later. Their success will automatically benefit other businesses indirectly, by using more of the goods and services they supply. (The struggling micro-businesses are probably too busy just surviving for now, and have little or no resources to invest in their own success until it is a proven winner. But the cascade effect will drag them up, so as to allow them to join in at a later date.)
This means I now need a handful of enthusiastic, committed & ambitious business owners to contact me quickly, to tell me what form of help they would need to grow their business quickly by 20%, maybe even 25%. Armed with that information, I will be able to start finding the resources that they require, and to explore what the cost implications are.
We have some great foundations in place already, including communications infrastructure, and a leading Local Enterprise Partnership, or LEP. We need to be realistic in our expectations, as there is no ready supply of public money to fund Profit Coventry 2012. However, once we identify the form in which that help will be required, we can then resolve the cost implications, probably starting with the cheapest solutions which will, in turn, generate the funding for the more expensive help. My speciality over recent years has been highly effective low-cost marketing, which is always welcomed by the smaller business owner. I will not presume that marketing is the only challenge facing Coventry businesses, which is why I need them to tell me what their particular challenges are, in order for us to find the resources that suit their needs best, and which will seed further economic growth.
For this ambitious project to succeed I too need help. I need all of you to spread the word around your contacts. And if you are keen to be one of the prime movers, reaping those early rewards from Profit Coventry 2012, then please tell me quickly how we can help you right now.
Thank you for your support. Let’s make a massive difference to Coventry. Please keep following further updates that I will be broadcasting over the coming days and weeks.