Wednesday, 20 January 2010

A Positive Outlook on Failure - Every Little Helps


Why Employers Look For Candidates Who Have Failed

When I first heard this as a recruiter, I asked the hiring manager to please repeat themselves.
Later I learned that many savvy hiring managers often look to hire someone who has failed at a past job or project.

Ok, everybody out there that has hidden failures on their resume, raise your hand …

I was intrigued as I heard more and more hiring managers seek those who have failed at something, because it’s counter intuitive. And based on the number of people out there with their hands in the air, most candidates don’t realize just how valuable failure is.

Monday, 18 January 2010

140,000 UK firms on the rocks as recession keeps biting

More than 140,000 UK firms experienced ‘significant or critical’ financial problems last quarter, according to insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor – a 6% rise on the previous three months. With the unemployment figure also expected to hit a 14-year high this week, and a think-tank suggesting that the economic gap between UK cities is getting even wider, one thing is abundantly clear: even if we do technically emerge from recession soon, we’ll be feeling its effects for a while yet...


UK risks becoming 'bankruptcy brothel'

BRITAIN is in danger of becoming the "bankruptcy brothel of the world", it was claimed yesterday, as furious creditors prepared a landmark legal challenge over the country's largest pre-pack administration.

Read more at Times Online

Sunday, 17 January 2010

How do you recover from the dark places of business failure?

My business failed in August 2009 and I keep getting told that all the best businessmen and entrepreneurs fail at least once. Having read a few bio's of entrepreneurs, I don't doubt that is true but what I don't understand is how they do it.

Is it to do with
* age
* money
* family & friends
* skills

The answer will no doubt come back as "All of them and none of them - it's to do with YOU" but what makes up YOU surely affects how you can recover. Looking at my situation, I don't see how I am going to be able to recover
* no property
* no access to other finance
* coming up to the big half-century
* pending bankruptcy

I have resigned myself to having to get a job but with very limited career prospects due to a thin, wide range of skills, I'm not looking forward to where that will end up.

I know I have a lot to offer but can't see where and how which leads me into very dark places.

The Entrepreneur and the Employee

I was alerted to the following "heated debate" on LinkedIn recently:
So here I am trying to build a commission only sales team for our web development startup company. I must admit that such task has never struck me to be a daunting one. In fact I used to find most sales people energetic and willing to give just about an...[Read full article and comments on LinkedIn here]
If you are not signed up to LinkedIn, you can read the original article and less heated comments here

Although the article is related primarily to sales agents, several important points are raised in the responses relating to mindsets of the entrepreneur and the employee.

For a serious business blog, the comments in the discussion are incredibly "passionate" to put it politely, ranging from one word answers to insulting name calling to reasoned analysis. I can fully understand the originator's position and I am still coming to terms with the damage that employees can do, having been subject to multinational corporate bullying in a sole director "one-man" company. Ultimately, I know that I am to blame for having employed the people in question and trusted them, only to realise that my whole business model was wrong but that knowledge doesn't necessarily make it any easier to accept.

My comment on the discussion thread was:
My business failed for many of the reasons that seem to underpin the originator's frustrations and IMHO, he is looking at the wrong branch of the people tree.

What he seems to be seeking are partners with an entrepreneurial mindset, not people with an employee mindset. To get someone to invest mind/body/spirit in the way he wants, he needs to look for people with enough financial resources and belief in his business to allow themselves the "luxury" of working for future rewards with all the risk etc that is entailed therein.

1. he is prepared to do that
2. his product/service is unique and competitive enough to attract such investment
are questions only he can answer via personal examination, quality market research and a comprehensive interview process... or possibly a visit to the Dragon's Den!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Credit crunch and entrepreneurs

Current market instability is impacting on all aspects of the economy, from the banking and finance sector reporting losses, to consumers becoming more cautious about spending. With the credit crunch rarely out of the news, there are now indications that it is starting to affect entrepreneurs and smaller business bosses.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Could business failures be taken more seriously in 2010?

A MANCHESTER solicitor today warned that the number of law firms falling into insolvency in the region is set to reach record levels during 2010.

Richard Glithero, head of insolvency at city centre outfit Pannone, said smaller practices are especially vulnerable to fraud, lack of funding and soaring insurance premiums.

Manchester Evening News: Insolvency Set to Rocket for Solicitors

In my opinion, if this turns out to be true, we could see business failures being taken a bit more seriously, as one of the professions "profiteering" from business failure starts to experience the pain amongst "its own".

Wriggling out of debt, justice and fairness

Simon Read opines that "Wriggling out of debt is not proper justice" in the Independent.

I can assure Mr. Read that if I was able to repay debts, I would. I was brought up to act responsibly in all areas of my life including financial. To analyse the reasons for my debt resulting from my business failure would take us into areas of irresponsible acts by various professionals ranging from bankers to accountants to solicitors to leasing agencies. I am willing to hold my hands up and admit to my naivety and many mistakes contributing to the failure of my business.

However, I am unable to follow the "audit trail" backwards for decisions to allocate responsibility and therefore justice to parties contributing to my predicament - how are these parties brought to justice, Mr Read?. Some bright spark in some office somewhere in the world at some moment came up with the idea of "sub prime" mortgages, automatically increasing credit card limits. Will these bright sparks ever be brought to justice?

These decisions were in my opinion were morally suspect to say the least (well, I would say that, wouldn't I!) and have contributed to the misery of millions.

And don't get me started on business gurus, investment bankers etc receiving millions for ruining companies, clicking a mouse to "move money" whilst nurses, doctors, firemen receive pennies for saving lives, working 25 hours a day.

Justice, Mr Read, implies fairness in society. If you think we live in a fair society, Mr Read, you must pass through mirrors everyday to live in Wonderland and attend tea parties.

Friday, 8 January 2010

I'm OK, You're OK, We're OK... or are we?

With 2010 heralding a new year, there are reports that the worst is over and that we are going to have a more positive 2010 with fewer business failures. That may be so or it could be another example of "Pagliacci Economics". As stated on the main BFA site, BFA is not here to offer analysis of why businesses fail, it is here for those people suffering the debilitating effects of their business failing and according to the reports below, it seems that there may be a few more people who are still to deal with those effects, no matter where they are around the globe.

I'm OK, You're OK, We're OK... depends where you are or want to look, Pagliacci!

Some Google News Alerts for: business failures

Small business failures alarm China's official levels
The Australian - Michael Sainsbury - ‎Jan 4, 2010
ONLY nine months after China claimed its small business sector was surviving the global recession reasonably well, figures have shown that about 40 per cent ...

Wearside tops league of business failures and there's worse to come
Sunderland Echo - ‎Jan 5, 2010‎
Hard-pressed businesses on Wearside are failing at a faster rate than any others in the UK, according to new figures. Research by credit insurer Euler...

1400 companies to go under in 2010 - ‎Jan 4, 2010‎
1406 firms went out of business in 2009 with the total in December coming in at the highest for any month at 156. O'Brien's Sandwich Bars were among the...

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

BFA is now on Twitter

BFA is now on Twitter at

We now have a Facebook page

We now have a Facebook page at

Facebook is obviously a bit of a funny one as the very nature of the beast makes it difficult to maintain full anonymity but hopefully the page can be used to spread the word and point people towards this site.

In the same way, LinkedIn, eCademy etc may provide other drivers

Any comments about ways to use Facebook or other networking sites are most welcome.