Our MD went to a political hustings this week at Costco in Sheffield and found himself getting rather hot under the collar. It seems that the FSB are the antithesis of innovation in the private sector, the whole thrust of their contribution was the cost of…
He sent the following email to John Walker, their president:
I attended political hustings organised by the FSB in Sheffield this week.
I have to say I was very disappointed at the thrust of the FSB’s position on most issues.
It seems to me that the FSB’s focus is on costs; the cost of employment, the cost of the minimum wage, the cost to local business through the dominance of supermarkets and so on.
The fact is all statutory imposed costs affects everyone (including the big supermarkets) i.e. it is a level playing field. If a business focuses solely on a strategy of ‘lowest cost’ then they are doomed to fail as there will always be someone who will do something cheaper.
For me, SMEs need to concentrate on value add; here’s an example.
There is a famous brand of butchers in Sheffield called Talbots. Apparently, a couple of decades ago, they had butcher shops across Sheffield. Today they have 1 in Sheffield but it is a thriving business; how?
It realised it could not compete with the supermarkets which are cost rather than quality driven. But there is a constituency of people out there who value quality. So what do they now do? They sell wholesale to quality restaurants and individuals who value quality. The shop is used primarily to prepare the meat and they deliver via vans (thus not paying a mortgage, business rates, electricity etc) to deliver their quality product to their customers.
I could give you many more examples, my point is as an SME business I should want to be joining the FSB; however if the FSB’s focus is primarily about complaining about the costs to business, then I think the FSB is doing SME businesses a massive disfavour.
The local agencies, here in South Yorkshire, RIDO and Creative Sheffield (who I’ve copied on this email) understand this and, so, have much more relevancy to my business.
Please take this in the spirit it is meant; I’m passionate about small businesses (my own father built the biggest branch of the NFSE, as it was back in the ‘70’s, in the UK in Grimsby and Cleethorpes), I just think the FSB should be selling a more positive message about how to compete against the ‘big boys’ in the 21st Century. ”
BTW, Talbots meat is to die for (apologies to the vegeterians reading this)
Abhi, our newest designer is a big fan of the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. Apparently they are through to the final on Sunday so we are all routing for Abhi’s team.
Unbelievably (positively of course), Lewis has been with us for a year today.
We enjoy his wit and good humour (as well as his great design skills and continued contribution to our success) and look forward to putting up a similar blog next year!
This went out yesterday; we just want to add a big thank you to all our clients, all our suppliers and, most of all, all of our team. We have a group of people who are passionate about Design and are passionate about the Fripp Design and Research project; without their support, enthusiasm (and occasional sarcasm!) and input, we would not be doing as well as are…a big big thank you:
Fripp Design announces significant business growth
Fripp Design and Research, one of the UK’s leading product design, research and business consultancies, has announced significant business growth in the past twelve months, despite problems with the economy that have affected many other companies across the country.
Sheffield-based Fripp Design and Research has seen its turnover more than double from £160,000 in 2008/9 to £400,000 in the financial year to the end of March 2010. In addition, the company has also doubled its head count as it continues to meet demand for its services in key markets, including the medical, health and safety and retail sectors.
In the last year Fripp Design and Research has also increased its customer base, adding well-known names such as B&Q, Boots, Balfour Beatty, The Welcome Trust and Sheffield University to its client portfolio in the process.
Steve Roberts, director at Fripp Design and Research said: ‘We are delighted with our performance and growth over the past twelve months, especially given the downturn in the economy in that time. Fripp Design continues to deliver a first class product design and development service for its customers, which is reflected in so many well-known names choosing to work with us. We look forward to continued success throughout 2010 and beyond.’
Fripp Design and Research was the first private sector company to be recognised as an Innovation Voucher Knowledge Provider, providing Innovation Vouchers for SME businesses based in Yorkshire and Humber, as well as in the North East. Innovation Vouchers are part of the government’s Solutions for Business Portfolio and, in the Yorkshire and Humber region, provide companies with up to £7,000 worth of 50/50 matched funding.
Steve Roberts added: ‘Innovation is vital to the long-term success of any business and we are proud to be able to help provide companies with the opportunity to tap into our wealth of expertise and support the delivery of an excellent knowledge solution for their innovative project.’
Our MD visited a local comprehensive school yesterday. It is typical of comprehensive’s built in the 1960′s and has a mainly working class catchment of some 1600 young people.
He was invited to meet with the sixth formers studying Product Design, looking at, and assessing, their final year projects. To say he was amazed was an understatement, the quality of their problem solving was as good as any professional designer and some of their solutions have the potential to be of commercial value.
The head of department is an ex Industrial Designer and Engineer who wanted to give something back; and it really shows.
We still believe the majority of the state Education system teaches young people to pass exams, rather than show personal intiative; however Dinnington certainly breaks that trend.
It goes to show that, if you can give young people the right level of support; with teachers who have experience of working in the real world, then our young people will have a brighter future.
This ethos could be seen accross the whole school (he had lunch in the school canteen and the students were first class). We will continue to work with Dinnington as their head of department is entitled to our support; if we are to create the knowledge driven economy UK PLC needs.