The needs of small businesses must be taken seriously, says Howard Robinson, head of communications at Ingenious Britain
18th September 2013
7.15am: I always start my day by checking emails on my phone before I leave home and respond to any that are genuinely urgent. Then, depending on whether I’m driving to work or going by train, I will pack myself off with my son, Noah, as we share part of the journey to work together.
8.30am: I stop on the way into the office for a coffee and some toast at the café down the road. I tend to buy The Times and scan that for any stories of interest, both from a work perspective, but also for general interest. If I’m travelling by tube I’ll scan the Metro as well and then I’ll check the BBC and Sky sites on my phone.
9.00am: Once I’m in the office I’ll try and take five quiet minutes to make a “to-do” list for the day. Of course, it rarely pans out that I stick to it, but at least I start the day feeling organised. It will generally focus on two areas: the work for Ingenious Britain itself and the work we need to do for Small Business Saturday UK, the campaign we are supporting in the run-up to December to promote the UK’s five million SMEs.
9.30am: I will have a good chat with my colleagues, James Day and Sadie Walden. James oversees all of the Ingenious social media and content for the site as well as organising tweet chats with prominent entrepreneurs and online workshops. Sadie is looking after the social media for Small Business Saturday, so the three of us will exchange ideas on content and new initiatives for that.
9.45am: There is momentum building now around Small Business Saturday, an initiative that is being led in the UK by Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary. I’ll spend some time looking at how we are progressing with our conversations with potential Small Business Saturday ambassadors and also with the itinerary for the Small Business Saturday nationwide bus tour which starts in November.
11.00am: I’ll then turn my attention to Ingenious. I will probably spend some time with James and our CEO, Marlon Wolff, discussing new initiatives we have planned for 2014; ways of enhancing the service that we provide for SMEs around the UK and new types and formats for content that we could look at. We are currently planning our first Ingenious Britain podcast and looking at two potentially big events for 2014. I may also look through some of the content for the next Ingenious Britain magazine, which comes out three times a year with the Sunday Telegraph, to see if there is anything in there we can flag up to the media in advance.
1.00pm: I’m one of those people who believe you need to take a break in the middle of the day. I’ll wander out of the office for half an hour walking up the hill towards Finchley Central. There’s a little artisan bakery/coffee shop near the station that does nice sandwiches and yoghurts so I usually gravitate there and bring myself something back to the office to eat.
3.00pm: In the afternoon I tend to look at three things: media, blog content and issues on which we need to take a position and have a view. I’ll look at some of the issues affecting small businesses – late payment, alternative forms of funding etc – and decide what we can do with them. I’ll either work these into a blog that we can put onto the Ingenious Britain site or share with other sites or see if we can place an opinion piece, usually in vertical media for the small business sector most affected by the issue in question.
4.30pm: If the issue demands a bit more attention then we will look at what else we can do with it. The issue of late payment is a massive one for small businesses. Recent research showed that the average small business is owed around £32,000 in late payment. That’s a staggering number and clear evidence that the voluntary Prompt Payment Code is not working. We will look at contacting other organisations and influencers to raise the debate, as we did recently with members of the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Small Business.
7.00pm: We have had quite a few post-work events to attend recently. If it’s a free evening, I’ll generally pick my son up on his way home and spend some time catching up with him, my wife and my daughter on their day, as well as playing with the dogs. I’ll check my email throughout the evening and, I’m ashamed to say, will usually turn my laptop back on around 8.00pm just to do a little bit more.
Howard Robinson, head of communications at Ingenious Britain