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Interior Designers have regularly been regarded as untrained in business acumen, often quite justifiably but often it is due to third party suppliers taking designers deposits and then going bankrupt, leaving the designer without the product and having spent the client’s money.

Edward Davey, the Minister for Employment Relations, has launched a consultation about bankruptcy and company winding up. The consultation document sets out detailed proposals to reform the application process for bankruptcy and compulsory winding up by replacing the current court route with a new administrative process.

Uncontested applications would be determined by an adjudicator and the court would be involved only at the application stage to the extent that there is a dispute that can be resolved only by judicial intervention. The minister proposes to allow electronic applications to be made to an adjudicator, who will be a person appointed for that purpose by the Secretary of State and whose office would be within the Insolvency Service.

Debtors who want to apply for bankruptcy for themselves would have the choice of submitting electronic or paper applications, and the option of making the requisite payment to enter the process by instalments. Where creditors are looking to instigate proceedings, a new mandatory pre-action process would incentivise debtors and creditors to communicate with each other and thereby reach a mutually satisfactory solution to the debt problem without recourse to a bankruptcy or winding up application.

This reflects the government desire that people are empowered to make the right decisions for themselves about their finances, as set out in the government response to the call for evidence about personal insolvency.

Litigation can be costly and time consuming. This new process should therefore deliver a more efficient service as well as saving valuable public and private resources. In order to ensure that the interests of both debtors and creditors are protected, the court would still have an important role and the route through the courts will of course remain as an independant solution of resolve. Not only would it decide the outcome of disputes, but certain petitions for the winding up of companies, such as those based on public interest grounds, would continue to be determined by the courts.

We intend actively to engage with interested parties throughout the consultation period, and welcome views on whether the proposals will deliver a workable and efficient application process for bankruptcy and most compulsory windings up.

Happy New Year ….. or is it?

REFLECTION

Keeping with tradition, we reflect on the passing year and each New Year revel in the promise of the unknown.  In true tradition, on review of a decade I note the shared optimism for change. The first decade of the millennium promised much in the showroom window but there was nothing in the stockroom. The culture of the past decade was not conducive to building a sustainable society.  A new Society is coming of age.

Our buildings are taller our tempers are shorter, we have bigger houses and smaller families; we plan more, but accomplish less, we create big people with small characters. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment.  We have learned how to make a living, but not a life. We have added years to life not life to years. We spend more but have less.  We have more possessions but fewer values.  We have learned to rush, but not to wait. So as each year passes, in review what have we learned.  When we created steep profits, we developed shallow relationships.

On reflection, I conclude we have achieved bigger things, but not better things.  The biggest negative and positive impact on me over the past decade was that of peoples character, it had been jaw dropping shameful by some while witnessing humility in others was quite humbling. If there is one item alone to change in 2011 it is our culture.  This is our moment so in the words of Michael Jackson ……. make that change!

FUTURE

A New Year brings many great expectations, a new VAT rate and a royal wedding.  The banks have made decisions to assist business particularly SME by making borrowing more available. Although the year ahead suggests hope those in business are aware that cash-flow is the key driver of staying power. Employees also know that sales and getting paid is going to be very tough. So the message from the banks is steady the ship we are not yet out of dangerous waters but we can see the horizon and therefore for the first time in a while, we can see hope and opportunity.

HERE & NOW

So if we know where we’ve been and what we got wrong, we have mapped out our plans to move forward, how can we change momentum and steer that vision? How do we get there? The answer is always simple, strip out the dead wood, if it does not work, get rid of it. We must be ruthless in our aim to protect our prosperity.  There is always a way to manage better. Designers need to leave their ego at the door to connect with this business. At SBID regardless of age, heritage and gender, everyone is treated fairly and personally. Our aims are simple, deliver the best service to provide our members with the best tools for the job, opportunities to get the best job and the ultimate resources to procure the job – alone you can do it, together we are the best.

Happy New Year

Vanessa Brady

In 2008, SMEs (small to medium enterprises) had an annual turnover of £1,500 billion. £6.1 billion of this is an increase on figures for 2007. 

So what does that mean in terms of financing Britain’s economy?

More importantly, what does that mean to you and your business if you are trying to promote opportunities in the year ahead and obtain credit to develop such opportunities as they arise? 

The construction and design industry in general is finding different ways to do business; we have created alternative methods to achieve this, but it take time to do something well. We have of course like all new enterprises researched our business opportunity well. The value is ultimately in the R&D – a capital cost – which is what eventually separates you from your competitors. 

Recently I attended the property industry event of the year at the Dorchester Hotel with 500 leaders of commercial industry, the biggest investors, developers and construction companies in Britain. 

Delegates were informed 33% of all enterprises are in London and South East. These two geographical areas are prime target areas for concentrated business investment opportunities. 

The financial year ahead will be a challenge to all businesses. In researching the 10 sectors in which The Society of British Interior Design represents, we have developed a road map defining the most effective categories for development and growth – the areas The Society will concentrate in the year ahead. We have therefore forged partnering agreements within those sectors and stepped back from those that do not fit our strategic goal. 

On 22nd October I was honoured to form part of 14 industry leaders on an initiative panel at the Bank of England to present views and conditions for industry sectors, to review the past six months and present consulted industry views of members and stakeholders for the six months ahead. 

The aims and objectives of the initiative panel were to identify and present the financial risks of downturn on the design and construction industry sector. The consulted and collated views of the members of The Society of British Interior Design therefore have a powerful influence on how the industry sector is regarded. 

With Christmas parties now in full flow, January will be a moment of truth for businesses that have hidden behind their spin to finally deliver on their claims, only the best will now survive. Next year will be a very interesting year for our profession: we come of age, if not at first, then at last!

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