|Delivering winning ideas
|For three years we have expermineted at shows and exhibitions with a variety of new products with differing results, some influenced by my mistakes, all at small scale.
It has provided time to think about freedom in free markets at big scale. Free markets only work with fairness. There is a perverse relationship between fairness and new product take-up.
Free markets require new businesses to develop and grow, competitors to enter their market, delivering variety of offering and price competition, new generations of product and sometimes failures. Overall, failures exceeds successes by a large margin and that's how it should be. If it were that easy everyone would do it! But do we operate in a free market?
Fairness goes beyond win-win, because it often means a stronger player is pressed to exert their power on a market, to the detriment of their customers. Banks, energy suppliers and markets under-managed by government where supply and demand have fallen out of balance, now see leaders of all political parties questioning prices growing beyond affordability globally. It is happening now in property, recently in fundamental commodities in food and energy. We have seen this apparently sapping the wealth created since 2008, leaving no spare cash for most people after basics in our fast developing world.
The perversity of the relationship when fairness is absent is no availability of cash for things which are new, as early product adoption requires risk and that requires spare cash. We have seen this in the smaller number of people buying quite good new products (not just ours). As inequality grows, other factors take over.
The increase in fuel price has seen two things happen - we drive less, yes - but have you noticed how poverty stricken the edges of our world have become? In the EU, Greece, Spain, have suffered whilst here UKIP's voter density lies at the edges of the UK and there is an rush to cities like London from new EU entrants. We keep hoping that normal trading conditions will return to shows in coastal areas away from the south east, but it isn't happening. Rural communities have too little work and it costs too much to move around their large distances to chase marginally profitable activity.
But this is only the small effect, as over-expensive property costs create asset bubbles which always burst. You can call this a brief summer bloom - the colours wither quickly as cash in markets dry up, equally perversely converting borrowed money into assets tranferred to lenders, undermining the balance of wealth further.
The Bank of England has recognised the property demand/supply imbalance raising prices cannot be resolved by interest rate hikes as too many people are over-borrowed and too near the affordability edge. Loan to rent values have now shown a big signpost towards closing the Buy-to-Let market to new entrants. We don't want to see yet more people lose their houses in a new round of "bust" in the economy, but it will take more than self-imposed partial bans on 4 - 1 loan to income loan ratios to stop it.
In parallel, a new and previously unknown effect on cash migration has occurred. New IT industry entrants grow so large, so fast, they miss an important step or two.
First, competition is stifled by a combination of factors not previously experienced - difficulty to copy, copyright, patents and being "first to market", in an Internet world, makes it difficult for new entrants to compete. Secondly, they make more money than Croesus, almost instantly, find ways to avoid tax in the countries they generate profits and suck cash piles into capital, rather than distribution to shareholders or simply spent in expenses as they have so few, leaqving no venture funding to start all over again. Sums involved are so large they deprive modern government of ability to manage our economies.
Trying to avoid using these organisations may not be that easy. Try managing your day without Google so management of space mapping is only affordable by a company!
Meanwhile, we try to go beyond win-win approach in our dealings with suppliers and customers in a market much smaller than we'd like. Our activities in shows and exhibitions also cost significantly more than running an Internet business until you add in postal surcharges.
When you visit shows, look at what you get: to see and feel what you are buying, a demonstration, explanation of the product and its benefits. You meet representatives of the business you are dealing with. We get to meet you. Together we work out how suitable the products are for you from your comments and questions both ways and refine products from the feedback. As long as you have some money to try new things...
Customers tell us they pay roughly the same to Internet suppliers they don't know operate UK businesses once the postal cost is included, if they hunt around later for similar products, but they rarely find our show products on the net and may buy something less good.
You should feel there is a sense of fairness when you buy at the show if the product is relevant to you. To be fair to us both, if you walk away, then find you see something that looks similar, please ask us about our products as we choose value for money. We will value your business. Before you buy elsewhere, please just call 07974 926166. Give us a chance to quote if you find something you think we should know about.