COVID; Analysis of Key Commercial Benchmarks

We look at the past twelve months and ask – if everything has gone wrong, was that simply because of COVID, or were the downsides always there, it’s  just that Covid was the excuse  of choice? Or are there new trends and behaviours come to the surface that we never considered until now?

Looking at the obvious – you can  say that 2020 was the death knell of Events and Conferences. Major companies globally are in trouble and have not been able to rediscover a new secret sauce as to why you and should even  bother to attend an online event. As long as COVID continues, it is doubtful whether many will still be around with their current offering, thru to the end of 2021. In our discussions with vendors, we have yet to find any vendor that is satisfied that being part of a virtual event has has offered them any benefit at all. Criticisms range from “ this is a scam”, to the more polite “ it’s not the fault of the organiser, they are doing their best”  etc.

It is made doubly worse  by the lack of interest from so many delegates.  Worst in our discussions, were anything to do with the UK NHS. Even those that attend workshops have almost nil interest in pursuing a discussion after they have gone offline and  in almost all cases there is no way for a vendor to progress a discussion. Much better are the Financial events; there is a clear monetary and commercial objective  – but even then – online workshops that we looked at – were sparsely attended, the vendors themselves outnumbering the delegates.

ARE SMALL ARTICLES THE FINANCIAL LIFELINE FOR CHARITIES?

 

We look at how the subtle growth of paid-for online Content, will be the revenue stream of choice for the charity and giving market. We focus on the SHEKINAH homeless charity in Plymouth and ask; is their model the way forward?

Charities are not backward when it comes to asking you and I for money. Every charity has it’s “please give me” column, it’s “terrible hardship” note, or “aspirational” look what we can do with your £5.00, and the list goes on.

They all sound so desperate and deserving in equal measure.

The problem is that in current times, the ordinary guy and family, have less disposable money to make the sort of contributions they used to do. And what is worse there is the hesitation of “what am I actually getting for my money. Feel-good factor is all very well but what about feeing your kids?

For many families, there are today’s choices, when for many, there is no comparison, and no option.

Except that maybe there is.

The growth of online Content has spawned a new payment process that allows Charities (and others), to charge nominal sums, in an instant, to read some of their published material. Instead of ticking the box to give a sum of money, the reader ticks the box to read something that stimulates him, that helps him understand better the charity involved – and in return, his small contribution, goes towards making a difference.

The SHEKINAH charity (shekinah.co.uk) uses the EXODOX (exodox.link) platform in Stockholm, to be the payment gateway. And it works like this.

SHEKINAH create a suitable article – which they publish either on their own site or on a third party News site, They install an EXODOX plugin – and create their unique payment account. They link their article to their payment account. And when you or I visit the Charity or News site, we click on the article, and pay usually £1.00 or so, to access the Content.

It is simple and immediate and you wonder why nobody had thought of this before. Maybe we were all waiting for “tap and go” and familiarity of card based transactions for pretty much not a lot.

But lots of “not a lot” mount up to “quite a lot”, thanks for asking.

The latest SHEKINAH article can be accessed at: https://www.thelibraries.co.uk/financial/society-does-not-depend-on-government-society-depends-on-society/

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WHAT NEXT FOR UK EXPATS AND BUSINESSES?

Whilst the recent dispensing of several of its obligations under the Withdrawal Agreement by the UK Government has caused Uk business tremendous damage to its reputation and ability to get new business – a couple of key announcements published in the “L’Agefi” online newsletter in France, have crept under the radar unnoticed.

They should not have done so, as they are likely to have the more profound affect to the ordinary person and to pretty much every size of UK business.

It may come as no surprise that the giant AVIVA Insurance company in the UK has sold off its filial in Paris AVIVA France. These things come and go. What is interesting is the timing, In the same French publication just a few days before, there was a larger discussion about the exit of UK financial firms generally from the EU.

It seems that UK companies, for so long holding out for a continuation of things as they are – which benefits the UK – have decided enough is enough.They are coming home.

On a purely domestic level, this coincides with announcements elsewhere that UK expats, will not be able to continue their UK bank accounts, if they live in EU. It is however – Ok in reverse. If you happen to live in the UK, but have your bank account in Paris – well, that will seem to work fine. I know that because LCL have just sent me a new Bank Card, complete with a personalised photo on there front of the card, of some flowers in my garden. How nice.

My friend Victoria who lives in a flat in Paris, is very worried. The lack of financial passporting mentioned above, whilst inconvenient, is nowhere near as high an issue as the need to transfer qualifications – which threatens job viability – and quite apart from the shut down of ferry companies, who will no longer operate. And who can blame them? With some 7000 trucks planned to be parked up in fields in Kent, pending customs clearance – we are at the point of having customs-points next to Bromley South train station. More serious, is the lack of any physical card, that confirms residency and country rights. It is another Windrush in the making. In twenty years time, UK expats will not be able to physically prove, that they have UK rights, because the online IT Systems currently used, will be long gone. All of the above facilities that were free before, will now cost you and I money to get back to where we were, and with greater hassle.

As concerning as that is, UK businesses are in an even worse situation. We are now regularly seeing EU companies not wanting to enter into contractual terms with UK companies, because of concerns of contractual behaviour. And in order to efficiently handle financial simple tasks abroad, such as a simple clearance payment for good received or supplied – UK companies are being advised to set up their own EU office. Add to that the lack of mobility of long haul travel for the next six months or so, it is becoming increasingly difficult to see where UK companies are going to expand their business.

According to the newspapers in the UK, we are due for an increased unemployment phase, and there is a need for additional social security support. This is not the time for employees to lose jobs.

One would like to think that some sort of common sense will prevail, but our suspicion in the UK at least is that there are too many large corporate interests that are in direct opposition to the views and needs of the general public, who are both their employees and customers.

Perhaps we are too close to the action, here in the UK. Maybe it takes a French newspaper, to tell us what we should have seen from the beginning.

Shall we forget about 2020? Not at all.

We are following up our earlier thoughts about links between viruses, and recessions. It’s not that there is a medical link. But if you want an excuse for doing not much, then COVID is the best you can get. And it could have been so much better! We give you a RoadMap – an essential quick Biz Guide, how to not just survive but succeed and enjoy the rest of the year,

RECESSIONS ARE NOT CAUSED BY VIRUSES. RECESSIONS ARE CAUSED BY HUMANS.

We look at the concept that battening down the hatches in difficult times, is good for our corporate health, and ask; maybe it’s not so good for our health… We give an alternative RoadMap.

My good colleagues in our Insurance Clients, show me the data, and it goes something like this – those companies who abandon their marketing and sales ship in any ensuing storm – will lose around 23% of their revenues that year. And it will take them a further two years to recover.

I do “get” that the above scenario is tempting. Our Press and Media do not get our attention by publishing good news stories. The constant doom and gloom which populate all of our news feeds and Inboxes, gives the end of the world impression of reality.

Except that it is not reality. Our experience over the past two months, in monitoring our corporate colleagues and clients, is that it is a true case of “be careful what you wish for”. Maybe you haven’t thought this though…

Why Inclusion & Diversity Is An Executive Priority

Creating inclusive, respectful and engaging workplace cultures is essential for an organisation’ success. Seems just right on paper but how do companies define and create this culture, empowering employees to feel motivated?

GLOBAL WARMING. YES, WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. YOU AND ME. EVERYONE ELSE.

I’m sitting at one of those speed awareness courses run by our UK police people to chastise errant speedy drivers like myself, and I am looking out of the window, and there is this girl next to me and she too is looking out of the window. And my mind is starting to wander. It’s not that I’ve had a bad day – but I am increasingly tired of the doomsayers telling me that my new hybrid motor car, actually costs more in fossil fuels to make the thing – than my lifetime of electric driving savings can generate.

CAN A.I. HELP THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND CAN IT INDEED HELP YOU?

We take an advance peek at the upcoming AI Legal Forum from the experts at IQPC, in London this week, and ask – where does AI fit into this very personal relationship-based industry?

The AI Legal Forum is rocking up at what should be already the centre of UK artificial intelligence. With its base for two days this week at the Hilton London Canary Wharf, the venue is surrounded by the movers and shakers in the banking and financial industries. If anybody depends on accurate use of data – it is them.

So we are in good company. The Forum already has some of the UK’s leading Legal Firms as Speakers, including a couple of large Media companies and PDA vendors. It is a broad church. And it needs to be,.

Reading through the nice announcements, what the Forum is there to do, is ask questions of its delegates rather than deliver information. Sure, there will be experience lead discussion – but as much can be gained from the feedback as the initial presentations from each leader or speaker.

A key element will be the redefining of how legal firms calculate their revenues, from what source. A major bugbear from customers who require legal advice is the constant focus on billable hours, and this is a key topic under discussion, as we move in to new ways of assessing client value.

It’s about time. But then, in the legal profession, you could say it has always been that way.