Lord Digby Jones wrote a great piece in the Sunday Times today that made him sound like a modern day Gordon Gekko. Since Wall Street 2 has sadly been put back until September 24th, I guess I’ll have to live with these fine words from the Minister of State for UK Trade & Investment in the meantime…
We live in a world where China wants your lunch, and India wants your dinner. This century belongs to Asia, and if we’re going to trade our way out of this economic malaise, we can’t rely on price to do it. Lord Digby Jones
Only last week I was encouraging a client not to compete on price. “Only one company can ever be the cheapest” I said, “…and chances are it’s not you“. Everyone else must therefore compete on price, great design and great branding in order to stand out in a very crowded market place.
There are four words companies need to compete: QUALITY, VALUE-ADD, INNOVATION and BRAND. By innovation, I don’t mean invention; it might be taking an idea to market like ‘how do you check people in at a hotel’. By brand, I mean building a reputation in your sector for doing things like training your people better every day.
Everything comes back to these for words, but you can’t crack it unless you’ve got skilled people. Partly this is emotional intelligence, but it’s also more basic than that. One in three adults in this country cannot add up two three figure numbers. And we want to take on China?
We must be mad if we think governments say they’ll cut university spending. We must be bonkers with a European Union that puts more money into cows and tractors than into our universities. Asia is investing in education; they’ve got cheap cracked, and now they’re going for value-add.
This stuff matters, not just for the survival of business, but the survival of the country. Business is the only part of our society that generates taxation. Forget all the arguments abut Government spending priorities; there won’t be anything to spend if we don’t support business!
To make this a reality, we need the politicians, media, and the mood music of the country to understand we must trade internationally. The UK is still a great trading nation, it’s in our DNA. But without the right attitude and the right leaders showing us the way forward, how are we ever going to take on the world. The UK needs more Gordon Gekko’s AND more Lord Digby Jones’.