Britain is "too lazy and too fat" with businessmen preferring "golf on a Friday afternoon" to trying to boost the country's prosperity, Liam Fox has said, and since then suffered a lot of abuse from others. From my perspective it shows a complete lack of insight about running businesses, both large and small and indicates how out of touch this politician is with “normal life”. Apart from anything else I haven’t had time to play golf for a few years. Seriously though the quote is wrong on so many levels.
Firstly, why begrudge someone who runs a business from playing golf on a Friday afternoon, when they have probably worked 55+ hours that week already! Secondly business people aren’t trying to boost the country’s economy, they are generally trying to boost their company’s or their own personal economy. Thirdly, talking about “businessmen” and “golf” ignores the many successful women in business.
However, it did start me thinking about export, which is something that we, as a company, pulled back from a few years ago to concentrate on the easier wins available in the UK and Ireland. With the weaker pound now though it may be something to refocus on. Many small food and drink businesses have done that with varying degrees of success. There are some small food and drink owners that have combined part-funded UKTI trips with holidays in various parts of the world, or indeed obtain funding for trade shows and extend their stays as city breaks at the tax payers cost! I did question one of our suppliers who was boasting about having their products in 46 different countries. It turns out that the amounts involved with any country was far less than their smallest UK wholesaler – still, it may have been good for some free holidays.
Export though should be a more significant part of some UK speciality food companies. It is harder work than supplying UK companies, with considerable paperwork and possibly lower margins, but the volumes can be good if the relationships are built on and some marketing support is given. It is possible though to export and play golf, but not necessarily at the same time!