Barclay Thompson's Clear Business Blog

Business support and advice with a twist of humour

Clear Business Development contributes to article on Guardian Small Business Website

My advice recently featured in a Guardian Small Business Network article advising entrepreneurs how best to plan for a relaxing holiday! The article, written by Mark Williams, is entitled: Time-poor entrepreneurs: take a break to boost your small business, and provides much needed advice for busy small business owners on how to put systems in place prior to their holiday to ensure business continuity.


Clear provides Business Strategy Consultancy prize for £12,000 Silicon Beach Training Start-up Competition

Want to Win £12,000 of Business Essentials?

Do you own a business in the South-East that’s less than two years old?

Do you need support to grow your business?

Do you want to win a package of business essentials worth over £12,000?

Then apply for the Silicon Beach Start-up Competition.

Silicon Beach Start-up Competition

Clear Business Development is proud to co-sponsor Silicon Beach’s brand new Start-up Competition in conjunction with Crunch Accounting and Midnight Communications.

One start-up will win a top prize made up of a package of essential services needed for running a successful new business – Accounting, PR and Marketing, Business Strategy Consultancy and Training – valued at over £12,000!

This is superb opportunity for a young business to kick-start their growth!

How to Win

We’re looking for the best start-up business from London and the South-East.

If you run a business that’s less than two years old, complete the application form to tell us about your business.

We will shortlist our top 25 entrants and pass these on to our respected panel of judges who create a shortlist of the five start-ups they think are most promising.

These 5 finalists will then be invited to Brighton to pitch their business to our judges.

After questions the judges will then decide upon a winner to receive the prize of £12,000 of business essentials.


Crunch Accounting – the UK’s leading online accountancy software, Crunch provides new businesses with a platform that makes finances simple as well as offering expert support .

Midnight Communications – Brighton’s leading PR agency, Midnight Communications has a long successful history helping new businesses to spread their message and get seen and heard.

Clear Business Development – provides insight into intelligent business strategy, Clear Business Development gives new businesses the strategy to grow profitably.

Silicon Beach Training – the South coast’s top IT and Business training company, Silicon Beach have 15 years of experience providing businesses with the skills they need to succeed.


£10,000 worth of training at Silicon Beach Training
One year subscription to Crunch Accounting worth over £900
£1000 of PR consultancy with Midnight Communications
£1000 of business strategy consultancy with Clear Business Development


Mike Herd – Executive Director of Sussex Innovation Centre

Caraline Brown – Owner of Midnight Communications

Lisa Reynolds – Owner & Founder of Let Me Do That For You and Owner & Founder at Gatwick Diamond Business Curry Club

Darren Fell – Founder & Managing Director at

Andrew Davies - Managing Director Silicon Beach Training


Competition opens – 13th November 2013

Competition ends – 28th February 2014

First round of judging – 3rd – 21st March 2014

Final – 18th April 2014

Terms & Conditions of Entry

See the full terms and conditions here.

So what are you waiting for?

For your chance to win this amazing prize for your business, simply fill out the easy application form.

We can’t wait to see all of the entrants!



Going for growth – Funding for Business Support & Coaching

It may sound like a plant fertiliser, but the GrowthAccelerator is a new government-subsidised business support service aimed at businesses with potential and ambition. Business development consultant Barclay Thompson is one of the scheme’s 800 growth coaches and says it offers a great opportunity for businesses interested in fast-track growth. Helen Keevy spoke to him to find out more about the service.

Barclay’s been working as an independent business advisor and coach for over a decade, drawing on the experience he gained setting up and running his own successful business. During that time he’s been involved in a number of business support and finance schemes in south London. He’s currently working with a four local businesses through the GrowthAccelerator scheme and believes “it’s an affordable way for clients to get quality, personalised business coaching.”

How it works

GrowthAccelerator was launched in 2012 to support businesses to achieve high growth rates. Its services are intended to double the size of a business in three years. Unlike some previous government-funded services there is an upfront cost for joining the GrowthAccelerator. For businesses from 1 to 4 employees you need to pay out £600, for businesses with 5 to 49 employees that increases to £1,500, and for businesses of up to 249 the cost is £3,000.

For that you get a total of seven days of personal business coaching and advice focused on helping you achieve a high growth rate. That’s worth approximately £3,500. You also have access to courses and events aimed at businesses that share your ambitious growth targets.

Funding for leadership skills

GrowthAccelerator businesses also get funding for leadership development and management training. The government will match up to £2,000 per person for training that builds personal leadership skills.

It’s not a programme, it’s a personalised service

Barclay stresses that GrowthAccelerator is not a step-by-step programme, but rather a flexible way to get affordable expertise in areas of your business where you need it, whether that’s your growth strategy, operations, marketing or raising finance.

“Every government programme needs to provide support in a way that is uniform across the country, but this scheme is delivered through individuals working with individuals – it’s really flexible. It’s based on coaching, helping business owners focus and develop strategies and skills to grow their businesses. The service also has some high quality strategy and visioning tools that I’ve used with my clients and had great results.”

Determination to grow

If you meet the basic criteria (English company, less than 250 employees, turnover of under £40m pa) the other requirement is a determination to grow. Barclay feels it is this that is making his experience of working with his GrowthAccelerator clients so rewarding.

“Everyone I’m working with is talented and determined to take their business to the next level. It’s fantastic working with people like that and seeing their business begin to grow.”

Barclay has been working with fellow Chamber member, F10 Studios for about six months now. This architectural visualisation company has doubled its employees and is on track for doubling its turnover and profits this year too.

According to F10’s Director, Nick Homer: “Working with Barclay on the GrowthAccelerator programme is a great experience. He very quickly gets under the bonnet of your business, drawing from his vast business experience to create a very thorough business plan and giving solid advice on every aspect of your business. Getting his expertise at a subsidised rate was an added bonus.”

Interested in the GrowthAccelerator?

Contact Barclay at Clear Business Development if you’d like to discuss how your business could get the boost it needs through GrowthAccelerator. Call 01273 275 832 or email

Written by Helen Keevy, writer and editor at Core Copywriting.

Hug a banker – six tips on how to get the best out of your bank manager!

The Banker’s Lament

My name is Tom Cranker, and I’m a jolly banker,

I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

I safeguard the farmers and widows and orphans,

Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.


When dust storms are sailing, and crops they are failing,

I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.

I check up your shortage and bring down your mortgage,

Singin’ I’m a jolly banker, jolly banker am I.


Jolly Banker by Woody Guthrie


Banker Bashing – a new national pastime?

What’s the difference between a cattle grid and a banker? Nobody slows down to drive over a banker!

Banker bashing is not just a 21st-century pastime but has a long history. Woody Guthrie wrote his banker’s lament in the 1930s during the time of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the American Prairies. These had led to the bankruptcy of many small farmers and the foreclosure on their homes and lands by unsympathetic banks. Needless to say bankers were not the flavour of the era.

Closer to home ‘merchant banker’ was popular Cockney rhyming slang implying contempt for an egotistical and self-indulgent person of limited character long before the current shenanigans of the City of London’s and Wall Street’s finest.


Up against the wall or up against the zeitgeist?

So, having established myself as one of you, a kindred spirit, a fellow member of the baying mob ready to storm the citadels of Mammon and send its occupants to the guillotine, I am going to suggest a heresy. Bankers have needs and feelings too. I don’t mean those champagne-swigging, coke-sniffing, Peppermint Rhino-frequenting public school boys from the City. Not them, obviously. Rather I mean the young lads and lasses, and let’s face it most of them are young these days, currently in charge of the business accounts of hardworking entrepreneurs like you and me. Not only do they have needs and feelings, but, I am going to go even further and suggest that you and your business have to understand them, and do everything you can (within reason!) to satisfy those needs and schmooze those feelings.

There is clearly a lot wrong with the banking system at every level, and there is no doubt that it has been harder for small businesses to get business loans since the banking apocalypse of 2008*. Several of our leading high street banks have been practically nationalised. We, the tax payers, own a large slice of them, and yet they seem no more responsive to the needs of the business community than are Barclays and HSBC who came out of the crisis without public subsidy.

*Loans for smaller businesses may become easier to obtain as The Bank of England and Treasury announced their Funding for Lending (FLS) scheme in July, making available £1.5 billion which must be leant to businesses at relatively low fixed interest rates. More about this and how to access bank finance in my next blog.


Pressure on bank managers – insights from The Secret Banker

As a significant part of my business consultancy over the past ten years has been helping small businesses obtain bank finance, it is important that I have an understanding of the pressures and constraints that the lenders work under. Recent meetings with bank managers have confirmed that the current financial climate and the banks’ role in creating it have certainly affected internal bank policy towards business clients.

One business manager from a major high street bank told me recently over coffee that he and his colleagues are under pressure to identify business clients which are profitable for the bank and weed out those that are less profitable and deemed to be high risk or high maintenance. These latter are either encouraged to move banks or are shunted on to less service-intensive packages.

Furthermore, your bank manager’s authority and discretion will have been drastically eroded over the past twenty years and most loan applications are now sent ‘upstairs’ to an anonymous group of assessors. To quote my Secret Banker source, these individuals have somewhat blinkered view of business from having “…to work in an ivory tower with no windows” and “…are extremely fit from having to climb all the stairs each day”. Security appears to be paramount, with banks expecting business owner to re-mortgage their properties; business owners with no security and poor personal credit ratings can pretty much forget any idea of securing a loan.

But we are where we are, and let’s face it no government is going to have the guts to do anything to upset the banks. What that means is that as small business owners we need to work with what we have and be strategic in our relationship with our bank.


My six-step programme for getting the best out of you banking relationship


It is quite likely that your bank is, or should be, a critical element in your business’s growth strategy. Even if your business is completely self-funding your bank is still a very important supplier of services and can also be a valuable resource. Like any business relationship, your relationship with your bank manager should be based upon a mutual understanding of each other’s needs.

Here are my six key recommendations for a healthy relationship with your bank:

  • Treat the relationships as a marketing exercise: market yourself and your business as you would to a customer and make sure you present yourself and your business as professional and efficient. A key criterion when assessing a loan application will be your manager’s view of you and your team, so make sure you have done everything you can to ‘manage’ your relationship so it is favourable.
  • Keep your bank well informed of your business plans and performance against plan. If you produce annual forecasts and a business plan (and you should!), then send your bank manager a copy. If you produce monthly or quarterly management accounts send these also.
  • Tell your manager about your successes – new clients, awards, favourable publicity, new products etc.
  • Also tell them about failures – bank managers don’t like surprises – but also tell them how you are dealing with the situation.  If cash flow is tight then tell your manager and don’t go over any agreed credit limits without doing so.
  • Treat you bank manager and his staff with the respect due to fellow professionals. Obvious really, but I have met business owners who seem to think it’s OK to treat their bank managers more robustly than they would other suppliers. Banks and managers make mistakes – so do businesses and entrepreneurs!
  • Meet informally at least once a year – a relaxed chat about your business and their business over a coffee or at a networking event.

It’s not rocket science; you should aim to develop a relationship with you bank manager as you would with a major client or supplier. If you need help from the bank whether to expand or save your business then you want him/her to be batting for your side.  A good bank manager can also be a knowledge resource and an important source of information if you need to use additional bank services to import or export for example.

Don’t think that this is my Chamberlain moment, I’m no appeaser, but within the Kafkaesque organisation that is a modern high street bank there are real human beings. It is an essential part of our role as entrepreneurs and business owners to interact with these human beings, and in doing so it makes sense for us to get the best out of this interaction.


Banking Matters

Do you need bank finance for your business?

Or are you having difficulties with you bank?

I can help you with a plan to raise finance or a strategy to improve the relationship with your bank.  Contact me on 01273 275832 or email


Coming Next: Shaking the Money Tree – Is Funding for Lending a new dawn for financing your business?

Keeping it in the Family or How to Lose Business and Influence No One!

Understanding the Real Cost of Business Services

 ‘Unfair competition’


I was discussing a business opportunity involving the introduction of companies to Cloud based enterprise software with a friend and fellow business consultant recently.  Whilst considering how it might benefit our consultancy services he made the observation that  “businesses prefer buying things to services”. This got me thinking about how businesses make purchasing decisions, in particular decisions services such as web design and copywriting, and even closer to my heart, relating to the buying in of business advice and business support services. It has always surprised me that these seem to be made on a completely mistaken view of the real cost of the service to the business.

 Words no web developer, copywriter or business consultant wants to hear


I have a lot of empathy for web design companies and copywriters because of the ‘unfair’ competition they face. I don’t mean competition from other web designers and copywriters, but rather from the sons, nephews and second cousins half removed of business owners. These relatives have usually ‘done a course at college’ and claim to be able to design commercial websites or write marketing copy at a fraction of the cost. I have written dozens of marketing plans over the past twelve or so years and for many clients the plan will include the need for a new website or improvements to an existing one. Nothing fills me with more despair than when during my follow up conversation with my client I hear those fateful words: “I needed to save money so I wrote the copy and my nephew is doing the design for me”.


I ‘ve got a cousin who can do that!


I have a client who owns a hi tech business producing highly specialised equipment for the medical instruments industry. They are probably the best at what they do in the UK and yet they have no website and this is seriously hindering their growth, not to mention damaging their credibility. They should have a website as I developed a marketing plan for them nearly three years ago and it included a detailed brief for a website. I also recommended three highly competent web design companies and two copywriters*, all based in Brighton. Then came the intervention of the dreaded relative, this time a long lost half cousin several times removed who my client met by chance at a family wedding. She worked in the marketing department of some company not exactly well known for its exciting marketing campaigns. She advised them to go with a company who had mailed them with a cheap offer, one with a portfolio of websites so devoid of imagination and with copy so clunky that I begged my client not to use them. But blood is thicker than water as the saying goes, the half cousin won, and after eighteen months of grief and hassle my client still has no website.


*For a heartfelt Blog on the subject of undervaluing copywriting services see Helen Keevy’s excellent piece on her Blog.


Cost is a relative term


The root of the problem seems to lie in how businesses evaluate cost, seeing it as an absolute rather than a relative term in the context of their business. To calculate the actual cost to the business of a website you need to take into account the return on investment and value added to the business by the website. A website designed by a relative or friend of the family that costs £1,000 and which brings in no additional customers and hence no additional revenues has cost the business £1,000. In fact if the site is really poor it can actually cost the business even more as it can be detrimental to the business’s overall brand. Not only is there no return on investment there is also a negative impact on the value of the brand.


On the other hand a well designed website with good copy which costs £5,000 but which brings in additional revenues of £20,000 and enhances the business’s brand, far from costing the business £5,000 has provided a sizeable return on investment and added value to the company overall.


In fact the cost to my client of trying to save money on his website is even higher, because the web design company has wasted hours of his time over the past eighteen months and there is also the opportunity cost of his company having no website for that period and the lost sales and lost credibility that has entailed. Taking the advice of the long lost second cousin has been a disaster*.


*This is slightly off message but for a hilarious video on the subject of clients undervaluing the services of designers check out Graphic Designer vs Client on YouTube.


And even closer to home


Similar decisions based on an erroneous approach to business costs lead many business owners to eschew the services of business advisors or consultants on the basis that they are too expensive. They are seen as an absolute cost, rather than a resource, which will provide a return on investment. Those same owners will then quite happily pay thousands of pounds for an advert in their industry journal or local paper, without any strategic reason for doing so and consider it money well spent even when it (inevitably) leads to zero additional sales. Or they will put their life savings into a new venture without any market research or clear business strategy and struggle for years blaming everyone and everything for failure but their own lack of forward business planning. Oh well at least they saved the cost of bringing in a business consultant.


Of course quite the opposite is true. A good business Adviser will add value by filling in gaps in expertise, experience and knowledge and providing an objective overview and perspective to the challenges and opportunities faced by the company. In fact I would go so far as to say that a good business adviser should not take on a client for whom they could not add value. Enlisting the help of a consultant to help with developing a marketing strategy in scenario one above, or a business plan in scenario two would not have cost money in any absolute sense, but rather have helped them to use the funds available in a strategic way, minimise the risk of failure and ensure a return on investment for the business. In so doing the business consultant would also have ensured that there was a return on investment over and above their cost also.


It’s not all Relative


‘Keeping it in the family syndrome’ can also be the curse of the business adviser as a colleague and I found recently after providing two hours of our time free to a prospective business. They too discovered a long lost relative who runs a business and promised to provide them with free advice, hence “saving the expense of engaging a business consultant”.  It would be interesting to know how many of these ‘kissing cousins’ style relationships end in tears as Uncle George or Cousin Annie realise they are too busy running their own business to help their relative or that their experience managing a pick ‘n mix franchise has little in common with growing a manufacturing business or design studio. Upholding family values is one thing, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily get added value from family.


Cost may be a relative term for a business buying in services, but that doesn’t mean you should bring in your relatives to provide them. As the old saying goes: ‘you can choose your friends but not your relatives’. My advice is to also choose your web designers, copywriters and business consultants!


Coming Soon:

First we take Manhattan: my business journey from a Brighton bedroom start-up to international business with offices in Brighton, New York and San Francisco.

SMART Grants for Innovative Businesses

The Characters

I have been a business adviser since 1998, working with creative and innovative enterprises, and during that time the question I have been asked the most by clients is “can I get a grant for this?”  Usually the answer is a “no”, mitigated by my words of consolation to the effect that “the best way to fund a business is by generating profits and that applying for grants can be time consuming and disrupt day to day business”.

However, every once in a while a situation arises where there is not only a grant available, but also a client who is a perfect match for it. Just such a situation arose last November when I was advising a technology company, which had a great idea as to how to develop and market an innovative new online data publishing system. Furthermore, they also had the track record, experience and market knowledge from having developed complex databases, printed directories and data driven websites for some of the UK’s leading information publishers since 2007.

 The Beginning of the End

The funding in question was a SMART Grant available from The Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s National Innovation Agency and the decision to apply was, as they say a ‘no brainer’. Those of you who have seen Pulp Fiction, and let’s face it who hasn’t, will remember that the opening scene is actually also the beginning of the closing scene. With apologies then to Quentin Tarantino for (ab)using his cinematic device I would like begin near the end of our journey and  quote the summary of one of the three experts who appraised our application: “This is an excellent application. This is heads (sic) and shoulders above most others and could serve as an example of how to make an application for public money. The level of detail and care put into the form and the supporting documentation is impressive and praiseworthy. The result is a project plan and budget that has every chance of succeeding and is a worthy recipient for funding.”

The Background

First some background information: The Technology Strategy Board is an executive non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Its vision is for the UK to be a global leader in innovation and a magnet for innovative businesses, where technology is applied rapidly, effectively and sustainably to create wealth and enhance quality of life. Its goal is to accelerate economic growth by stimulating and supporting business-led innovation. It offers a range of funding and support options of which the SMART Grant to support the ‘Development of Prototype’ was clearly the most appropriate for my client. There are also SMART Grants for ‘Proof of Market’ and ‘Proof of Concept’ for those whose project is at an earlier stage. The application process runs continuously throughout the year with 2 monthly cut off dates so that ‘batches’ of applications can be processed and decided upon.

And now let’s return to the beginning:

The Set-up

The application requirements were relatively straightforward and excellent guidance notes are provided. In effect we needed to create a business plan for the project complete with financial forecasts. Working through this process we found that the total project cost would be £230,000 over 18 months making it eligible for a SMART Grant of £103,500, the rest being funded by the applicants.

We held a meeting to scope out the application and I got to edit a first draft. However, my clients were very busy running their business and only the finished the final draft on deadline day, giving me no chance to reappraise it.

The application was rejected, but one of the benefits of this process is that the Technology Strategy Board provides you with detailed feedback from the three expert appraisers together with their scoring. It also gives applicants a second bite at the cherry, an opportunity we gratefully grasped after carefully dealing with all of the issues raised by the trio of experts.

The Finale

So is there a happy ending to this story? Well for starters – just as in Pulp Fiction nobody died at the end. Unfortunately that wasn’t the only similarity because just like “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer) in the film we didn’t come away with the money either. Why not? Well despite the quality of our application and the positive responses of the judges the project was ultimately not judged to be innovative enough, defined in the guidance notes as having to “…involve significant technical development (engineering) that produces at least a step change impact on how computers and other devices are programmed or used.” The business model was deemed highly innovative; the software itself was not. Of course we disputed this and felt we had argued the case, but the decision had been made.


So what did we all learn from the process apart from the fact that there really is no such thing as a free lunch? Well I suppose I had the satisfaction of learning that I had helped my clients produce “…an excellent application”, one that could ‘…serve as an example of how to make an application for public money.” On a negative note my clients learned that doing things at the very last minute, especially when very large sums of money are in the balance is not a very good idea! But far outweighing that a real positive is that they had their technology idea, business model and strategy appraised by three industry experts and all found them to be sound. This has provided my clients with the impetus to develop a strategy to ‘bootstrap’ the project and fund the development out of the profits of their current business. Not free perhaps – but lunch will be served!

Coming Soon:

First we take Manhattan: my business journey from a Brighton bedroom start-up to international business with offices in Brighton, New York and San Francisco.



Mind the Gap!

or Why launch an affordable consultancy service for small



Government says “No”

This week sees the launch of The Competitive Edge, my big-business consultancy service adapted specifically for smaller businesses.  So why launch it now? Because over the past two years the Government has, by withdrawing all funding, created a void in the provision of business advice services for smaller businesses. Enterprise Agencies have closed and Business Link has been reduced to a website. Local organisations in Brighton, such as the Chamber of Commerce and Wired Sussex, are still providing excellent workshops and events, but one-to-one consultancy to create continuity is beyond their current remit.

Small businesses face the most hostile economic climate in 20 years and need help more than ever.  According to latest figures available from The Office of National Statistics, business deaths outnumbered business births in the two years from 2008 to 2010 and there is no reason to believe this has been reversed since.

Filling the gap

In The Competitive Edge, my consultancy services for smaller businesses, I have developed a flexible and affordable business support service that can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses. As a business owner you can choose between on-going support, an on-demand service to tackle specific issues, or you can join one of the small, informal mentor groups. You can get all the benefits of a big-business consultancy service − the experience and knowledge, the fresh perspectives, objective insights and strategic and practical planning skills – with continuity and without the high cost.


The Competitive Edge’s thirty-year gestation

In a sense The Competitive Edge has been over 30 years in the making.  My passion for providing business support to smaller businesses and the satisfaction I get from working with them comes from the time when I was one! Between 1980 and 1998 I grew a small, innovative gift business called AH Prismatic from a bedroom start-up into a company with a £3 million pa turnover, 25 employees and offices in Brighton, New York and San Francisco. During those 18 years I had practically no business support or business advice from external organisations or business consultants apart from financial input from my accountants and from Doug Scott, a supportive old-school bank manager with Lloyds Bank.

I am not writing this to boast, as in “didn’t I do well and with no help from anyone!” Far from it: if I had been able to access high quality business advice and business support and had had the good sense to take advantage of it, then the business would almost definitely have been far more successful and more importantly still be in existence today.

In fact it was very difficult to find experienced business development consultants in the 1980s and 1990s. I did try, taking advantage of various government-sponsored programmes managed by the long defunct Federation of Sussex Industries (if my memory serves me correctly). They would usually send some self-styled consultant from a totally inappropriate large corporate or banking background. Having clearly demonstrated that they understood nothing about the marketplace we operated in and more importantly nothing about the challenges of running a small business, they would then try to convince me that I should pay them for additional business consultancy.  Needless to say I never did, but that is not to say that I didn’t need some independent, objective insight and input to help me grow a sustainable and profitable business.

What I got right

During the 18 years that AH Prismatic was surviving and thriving I do believe we got a lot of things right. We clearly identified our target market, put the customer at the centre of our product development and marketing strategy, and consequently developed a strong brand presence in the marketplace and an innovative and popular range of products. We were strong on planning and using our business plan to monitor the business, and we developed a successful export strategy, which included opening offices in the USA and led to us buying out our main competitor, Holos. We worked with Lucas Films, Paramount (now Viacom) and Universal Pictures to produce licensed products, and we won the Sussex Business Award for Export in 1992.

Where I needed help

So where would the input from a business consultant with appropriate experience and knowledge have helped? Well having an objective, second opinion when assessing opportunities and risks would have been invaluable and saved me considerable grief, not to mention money. With the benefit of hindsight I think that having someone with experience in developing a management structure and building and managing a team would also been of enormous help.

However, where a business consultant could have had the most impact is on my morale, by providing solid, been-there-done-that support across all aspects of running the business. Someone to tell me when I got things right as well as helping to prevent me from doing things wrong. Remember this was a period before the existence of most of the business networks that now proliferate in towns such as Brighton, where ‘lonely’ entrepreneurs can share experiences and seek solace with fellow sufferers over a glass of budget wine and a finger buffet.

Since closing AH Prismatic I have worked as a business development consultant, working with hundreds of smaller businesses, helping them avoid the errors I made and encouraging them to implement in their businesses what I got right.

Luckily some things have changed, but with the actions by Government over the past two years, and the tough stance being taken by many banks, now, more than ever, small businesses need affordable support. The Competitive Edge is my attempt to fill the gap.

What additional business support do you think your business needs?


Coming Soon:

First we take Manhattan: my business journey from a Brighton bedroom start-up to international business with offices in Brighton, New York and San Francisco.