Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Business Link Hampshire – Beyond Prediction Confirmed – The Call That Never Came

Business Link Hampshire – Beyond Prediction Confirmed – The Call That Never Came

In preparation for the expected ‘phone call, from Nick Keogh, at 10.30 a.m., I collected together the material I had researched on the Internet the previous evening, computer diary notes I had printed off, an A4 pad and my telephone notebook. The A4 sheets were put in a ring binder and all were taken upstairs to my large desk with the old computer and telephone.

One of the documents that I downloaded and printed off was a Candidate Brief for applicants for the post of Managing Director of WSX Enterprise. It was of interest because it laid out the business Link Philosophy, which just happened to be the way it had been conveyed to me by others, was as I understood it but was not as practiced by Business Link Hampshire, at least not as far as I was concerned, or some other people I have met over the years, though those were before Jonathan Morris’ tenure as Managing Director of Business Link Hampshire.

For example, the note contained the following:

“Today’s business Link service is provided through three key elements:

I – Information
D – Diagnosis
B – Brokerage

Information is available primarily through telephone and web based support together with events. Diagnosis may be undertaken through those same points of contact but often requires a face to face intervention from a Business Link Adviser at a clinic or at the business premises.”

It was relevant to my forthcoming telephone conversation as telephone support was not particularly appropriate; there was relevant material I actually needed to show Nick Keogh, or whoever else I spoke to. The situation was also a far cry from the supposed up to four face to face, one to one, meetings a year to which I was supposed to be entitled, along with other Business Link customers, of course.

By 10.35 p.m. I was ready and busied myself on the computer, which is the one I use for E-mails at present, while I waited. Time passed and nothing happened, no ‘phone call, not by 11 o’clock, or anytime afterwards. Jo returned from her hair appointment just before 11.30 a.m. and I had still not received the promised ‘phone call.

Jo has a Membership Card for Havant Garden Centre, Wyvale in Bartons Road, Havant, and had received a two for one meal offer in the Garden Centre Restaurant. As out granddaughter was coming the following day and I was otherwise occupied in the later part of the week, today was our last day to use it, so we decided to do just that.

I ‘phoned business Link Hampshire, at 11.40 a.m., intending to ask for Sarah Anderson and query the missed telephone call from Nick Keogh. All I got was an answering service with the usual “You call is very important to us”; you need a wry, to black, sense of humour if you ever bring your business to Hampshire, though that is not just down to the local Business Link but most of the publicly funded business support in Hampshire as a whole. The glaring exceptions who are friendly and helpful are the Chambers of Commerce and Southern Entrepreneurs, plus their friends, of course.

I left a message to say that I had not received a call from nick Keogh, as promised, plus, of course, my phone number.

Jo and I went to Wyvale Garden Centre and had a pleasant enough lunch, though, unfortunately, they were not really geared up for the number of people who responded their meal offer, so, it was quite a long wait. Of the meals on offer, I opted for fish and chips, with mushy peas, though I prefer garden peas. At least it was better than I have had at Fuller’s pubs where the portion mushy peas is smaller than the dollop of tartar sauce and the chips are of the chunky variety. Wyvale would have been preferable to Fuller’s at the normal price; at the offer price they easily beat Fuller’s.

One of the other diners thought the Garden centre was not as good as it was, though job and I were of a different opinion. The restaurant is not quite as good as it used to be, the relatively high prices not helping, at least for several items; £3-50 to £4-00 for a slice of cake is a bit much to say the least. However, the surroundings are pleasant and the revamp, restocking of the Garden Centre has gone well.

On returning home I, immediately, checked the answering machine. There was nothing from Business Link, nor for the rest of the day.

During the afternoon, while job was out at afternoon tea with her friends, I got on with some research and writing. During that time I checked the statistics on my BlogSpot Blog. I was fascinated to notice a surge of visitors from Fareham, where Business Link Hampshire has its main Office; no coincidence, there had been visits from Business Link Hampshire. Those statistics were for the were only for yesterday and the Blog Post I put up last Sunday, 21st February, unless they caught my Monday evening Post early this morning.

I presumed that had something to do with me not receiving the promised ‘phone call from Nick Keogh, though they might have had the courtesy to ‘phone me and tell me it was off, postponed, or whatever, and given some sort of reason.

In the mid to late 1990s, before I was “blanked” by Business Link Hampshire, I had an advisor come to my house. He was on time to the minute. He took a pride in being on time and told me he had arrived ten minutes earlier and been waiting in his car over the road until the appointed time. How things change. If Business Link Hampshire was as in those days, as I found Business Link Sussex was and with whom I should have stayed, I would have brought a considerable amount of engineering business to the area, let alone the tourism side that my advisers are sure is worth so much, as were Business Link Sussex.

On the basis of the figures we have worked on, Hampshire and part of Sussex has lost £800m to £1bn pounds worth of business, over the last decade, compared with what would have been; it could be a little les, it could be a great deal more but should never have been lost at all.

The logic of the above is that, as long as I am blocked, Hampshire loses of the order of £100m per year in tourism income.

Why do public funded organisations, decline, year after year, to assist in bringing that level of business to their own region?

Do you really want to bring your business to Hampshire?!

Apart from other matters, on which I am working, I really will have to finalise the last fraction of a percent of the manuscript of “Remembering Lorelei” and let it go. I have been apprehensive about riding two publicity eruptions at once, one from the contest of the book, the other due to other matter, the Hampshire Business Link matter only being on the periphery of that. I am getting over the apprehension to the extent that I am increasing my presence on the Internet.

That is something else to bear in mind about Hampshire, you will need to use the Internet, or have connections outside the County if you wish to make sure that your voice is heard; the usual channels are poor to blocked, or, at lest, severely compromised.

My Web Sites are abroad anyway, or were last time I checked (a very appropriate current under the circumstances), though having a very good computer consultant as a son-in-law, who happens to be Russian, with family in the Baltic States and Russia, means that I could have them moved further afield if absolutely necessary; courage in the upper echelons of Hampshire is not very great as it is, let alone, perhaps, needing to contemplate falling foul of Russian Oligarchs, along with the possibility of polonium in their cups of tea.

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