It is interesting how businesses develop over the years. In 1973 the U.K. joined the E.U. At last we had a “cushion”, a “comfort blanket”. As in fashion, there are trends. I was lucky enough to start my first business during the Thatcher years, the “You’ve never had it so good” years. Entrepreneurialism was everything. I started on the kitchen table, and within two years had 2,000 square feet of office space, twenty full-time staff and fifty part time staff. We also had anywhere between 3,000 and 6,000 casual part-time people working for us. We had “never had it so good”. Everywhere, entrepreneurial businesses were springing up; big, expansionist ideas put into action, the economy thrived, Brits felt good about themselves, there was a buzz in the air. Exciting times!
All those entrepreneurial businesses were financially supported by the Banks – big loans and big overdrafts in abundance. Those were the days when SMEs and others had to wait six months for invoices to be paid, but nobody minded that much, the banks would help. The attitude was “we have to live with borrowing”.
Then we had Black Monday in 1987. The cause? It started in the U.S. where markets fell by 20% overnight. The cause is debatable but largely believed to be the [Unknown A1] introduction of computerised trading at too high a level for computers to cope. Simplistic, but probably factual.
It didn’t stop there. The 1980s and 1990s saw the Savings and Loans Crisis in America, the Junk Bond Crash in 1989, the Tequila Crash in Mexico in 1994. In 1997 we saw the collapse of the Thai Baht which engendered the Asia Crash, then the global Dotcom bubble in 1999. The Great Recession triggered by the U.S.A. housing market crash in 1997, and then the European Sovereign Debt Crisis started in 2009 and carried on for ten years. 2015 saw the China Stock Market Crash. There were many other crashes around the globe, mostly affecting individual countries, and now, in 2020 we have Coronavirus, a global pandemic which promises to cause a Greater Recession than anything we have seen to date.
Governments would like to think they run the world but, in my opinion, they do not. The World is run by banks. Banks, with their ability to give or rescind funds, are in charge. In 1987 the U.K. banks called in the debt. All those businesses which had relied on banks were given just days in which to repay thousands. My own bank manager told me “We will always lend you an umbrella when the sun is shining, but we want it back when it starts to rain”. Many, many businesses went to the wall. And so, following Black Monday, entrepreneurs were let go and replaced by Accountants (bean counters as they are sometimes known). The Accountants pulled companies together where they could, balanced the books, and finally, after much soul searching, financial stability became the norm. A price was paid; companies learned to keep their heads down, get on with the job, do what they were good at, and survive. Accountants were in, entrepreneurs were out. Besides, we were members of the EU, we had that comfort blanket to sustain us. We needed to look nowhere else. We were to discover that even comfort blankets have their drawbacks.
Now we are about to leave the E.U. We need to look beyond the E.U., we need to be self-confident, raising our heads above the parapet, above the fear of change. In order to survive, we have to take risks again. These are exciting times, the world awaits, it is our oyster. Those beanies running companies which have engendered an ethos of caution need to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit; they need to look to the horizons. The Banks need to step up to the plate and get involved. Then, finally, we can be responsible for our own destinies, no more stifling E.U. rules and regulations. We are on our own and, being British, we’ll make a very good show of it.
Gilbro Group LLP
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Surrey Chambers of Commerce host great events and networking opportunities for businesses of all sectors and sizes. The knowledge and support they provide is especially valuable to businesses who are growing. I enjoy working with team.
Our membership of Surrey Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in the growth of our business. It's opened many doors and so much of our new business can be tied back to a SCC introduction. We recommend joining the chambers to all of our micro/SME clients looking for funding, networking and brand awareness.
Esther GuyAccounting4contractors Ltd
If you are looking for an organisation with a membership of like-minded business owners sharing common interests with a willingness to support colleagues, then in Surrey Chambers you have found what you are looking for. With caveat that yes, you have to put the work in to attend the meetings, thoroughly recommended.
Ges RayPresentation Excellence
Surrey Business School is proud of its longstanding partnership with Surrey Chambers of Commerce. Our relationship with Chambers is at the heart of the connectivity we have with the local business community and enables us to forge the strongest of links to the benefit of businesses, our students and the research community.
Adrian ShanksSurrey Business School
Membership of the Surrey Chambers keeps our finger on the pulse of what matters to business and it grounds us in reality. The variety of businesses we get to meet and hear from through the Surrey Chambers events (previously face to face and now online) enriches our knowledge and broadens our perspectives and ensures we continue to shape our services and offerings to meet our client’s needs.
Jarmila YuYUnique Marketing
I attended the Heathrow Summit conference and had the great good fortune of spending some time with Gary Hayes & Andy Willmott who were a real credit to the Chamber. If anyone is wondering whether being a Chamber member could help their business know this, they helped me with their knowledge of local contacts and we're in Cornwall! Thanks for your time fellas and keep up the good work!
Spencer HassellADi Access
Louise and her team at Surrey Chambers have been and continue to be a fantastic resource for our business. They have been hugely helpful and remain a great asset to not only our business, but also the SME community in Surrey and beyond.
James MorrisTrafalgar Marquees
ramsac have been proud members of Surrey Chambers for over 20 years. During that time we’ve received support in the form of training and business community links, we’ve expanded our local network and we’ve had opportunities to promote our SME IT services to the wider Chamber membership by supporting and sponsoring events and providing keynote speakers to talk about IT and employer issues.
Surrey Chamber of Commerce is in the business of working with businesses, consistently delivering quality events and a great go to for advice
Harvey OckrimSatteliet UK
I was recently at the Surrey Chambers Power Breakfast at Sandown Park Racecourse what a fantastic venue and breakfast. There was a good group of people, all with ‘can do’ attitudes as well as an engaging speaker. I obtained a number of new contacts and received further networking opportunities. I also felt that I had come from the breakfast having learnt something new which is a big bonus!