UK: "I did it my, (or was it his?), way"

with apologies to Frank Sinatra, who must also have been a cynic
Last Updated: 5 November 2001
Article by John Quinton

We hear a lot about ‘Agendas’ nowadays. He who writes the Agenda has the power. So it is important that he gets it right. But right for whom?

We have become accustomed to the so-called hidden Agenda - which I take to be a list of topics which implies one objective but which is actually written so as to achieve another. Sadly, the use of the hidden Agenda has become routine in many circles including, it seems, most layers of Government from the Cabinet to the Town Council. It is now no more than a device to enable them to do it their way.

We should stop being surprised that most so-called ‘initiatives’ produce the very reverse of what was said to have been intended*. The opposite of what was intended turns out, in practice, to have been what the Agenda writer wanted all along. By the time we realise that it is too late to argue.

The routine manipulation of the system in this cynical way - by stealth - is one major reason why so many people no longer see any point in voting. (Perhaps that is the result of a hidden Agenda too? Do they just not care, anymore, whether we do or not?)

Offered the prospect of ‘growth’ most small businesses would probably listen to the siren voices. The first time. Every business wants to improve the benefit it wins from its efforts. Who would not like a better profit for less effort? Or to increase his turnover if it produced a commensurate profit increase? We all want more profit.

Any government sponsored ‘Business Support’ Agenda writer, however, wants ‘growth’, i.e. more business activity, because that will create employment opportunities, some handy statistics and at least the prospect of better tax revenues. Beware. He is an Agent of the Government, because it controls his recruitment and pays him, regardless of how his actual employment is dressed up to imply something else. (More stealth!). It is no concern of his if, in the process of growing, a business fails and leaves a consequential trail of damage to others. Others, (not small businesses, though), even benefit from that.

Those who know what it is like to run a small business - that is, 99% of all businesses - are aware that what counts is not turnover, staff numbers, the size of the car-park or its borrowings. Success is determined by the ability to provide a product or service at low cost for which a buyer will pay a high price. Any business which does not understand this, (and many don’t), is working to someone else’s agenda or providing a social service - such as lending money to clients for extended periods, propping up the banks or providing subsidised employment. All that is meeting someone else’s hidden Agenda and, if your business is doing it, you have been had.

Business is not about size. Some of the best businesses have no borrowings, no employees and no premises.

Efficiency in creating the most profit at least cost is what counts. Knowing what the overheads are, and keeping them down. Working to a plan and within a budget. But, above all, finding out what clients want and giving it to them. These are the things that command respect, not fiddling with the figures for some undisclosed purpose.

There is no secret - beyond being fully aware of what any productive unit of work costs, in terms of direct expenditures and the share of overhead it must recover.

However, very few businesses understand that and, even if they do, many think they are somehow exempt from this basic commercial reality. They run, permanently, on ‘empty’, exhausting all their energies on mere survival when they could be flourishing. Which is why few businesses survive into a second generation.

But nobody has an Agenda for dealing with that problem. It is new registrations that grab headlines, and enable Governments to claim success in, ‘encouraging small businesses’. Talking about the almost equal number which fail, and the ghastly consequences of that, would not enhance anybody’s political career. But we know what the results would be if it did reach an Agenda, so beware any initiative which we are told will tackle that problem. It would simply make it worse*.

As in any other walk of life those of us in Business had better understand that, after all the talk, we are actually on our own. We stand or fall by our own efforts. And those, guided by simple common sense and the odd grain of distilled wisdom, are enough.

Just get on with it and do it your, (or, preferably my), way!

* The well known and frequently illustrated, ‘Law of Perverse Consequences’, which states that most legislation, even when formulated, (as it sometimes is), by well-intentioned individuals, generally produces the opposite of the effect intended. The unscrupulous use this well-oiled principle to their advantage.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.