Hesitant Britain

Sean Goldsmith believes the good-old fashioned Great British psyche is less decisive than it used to be.

Hesitant Britain

Analysing the history of Great Britain, there is no doubt that it has always been a country of superb innovators and entrepreneurs. These are people who, despite incredible odds, have succeeded by building great, resilient businesses.

I often spend time thinking about the history of companies and their owners. I am in total awe at how they have managed to sometimes run extensive multi-national organisations all at once. Some of these organisations are still thriving today and I also ponder over how communication has changed dramatically through the decades.

As I sit here typing away on my computer I have thus far, today, received six emails and numerous WhatsApp messages. I fully expect someone, somewhere, will be feeling a little anxious that I have not yet responded to a message they may have sent me less than 10 minutes ago. But that’s a topic for another day.

So how did GB’s entrepreneurs break new ground? How did they locate new trade routes where none had existed before? Was it personal greed? Well, I can’t imagine that there are fewer ‘greedy’ people in circulation today than there were back in days gone by.

There was something more powerful than ‘greed’ at play. I believe that there was once a greater collective national self-confidence and self-belief, than exists today. How else would we have all the technology that we have today? Over the past few decades, there has been a visceral and visible decline in the self-confidence of the British psyche.

Recessions, downturns, Brexit, Covid, the long winters, the too-hot summers, have all helped to create a feeling of ‘permanent crisis’. Today’s crisis is the conflict in Ukraine, as well as inflation. But these negative moments in history have always existed in some shape or form. So let’s be more specific and ask whether this hesitation is preventing people from investing in a business or perhaps starting one from scratch.

And do newspapers play a part in all of this negativity with their ‘doom and gloom’ reporting and forecasting almost every day? Are they playing havoc with our national ‘self-confidence’? I wonder what impact the papers would have on our national psyche if they printed more stories celebrating British entrepreneurial success – and put these on the front page instead.

One thing for sure is that we need to find our confidence again. One of the most important qualities of a successful business person is their ability to ‘back themselves’ and be decisive in their actions. This is especially important in moments when others hesitate.

If you are looking to invest in a franchise, it is worth remembering that franchising remains statistically the safest route into self-employment. It is more a ‘hop of faith’ rather than a ‘leap of faith’.

Look at it this way: Franchising is similar to a ‘meal in a box’ delivery. You receive a box full of all the correct ingredients required to conjure up a tasty meal. And you – the ‘chef’ – will then take those ingredients and follow the instructions or recipe to create something tasty. The ‘unknown factor’ is, of course, the chef. But, once again, this is a conversation for another day.

Sean Goldsmith
Sean Goldsmith