Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Get this straight – mine is a North West business

Down the years, loads of people have told me “You need to be in London to be taken seriously”. That’s rubbish, just look at some of the Ernst & Young entrepreneurs regional shortlist each year (we don’t all go bust you know!)

I did set up a London office once, when the dotcom stuff started making serious dough in the late 90s, before it all went tits up. Back then the Yanks wouldn’t have picked Manchester out on a map of Greater Manchester let alone England.

Got a nice deal on some space just off Soho Square, with a guy I used to do a bit of business with – the “Great White” we used to call him, a big rugby lad. He got in on the ground floor of IT publishing in the 80s and we had a few shared interests, not to mention interests in a few shares. Never fancied those stripy jackets myself, so as a rule I’ve always steered clear of the City.

Truth be told you can’t beat London for nightlife, but we had some right bother getting the right staff. Chancers would be one word. One guy I hired as sales director disappeared into thin air, only for his name to pop up in the Sundays – turned out he was a bigamist who’d pulled off some scam regarding his first wife’s inheritance! Can’t see the problem myself, if he could handle two sets of earache good luck to him.

You wouldn’t beleive the trouble you have hiring. Most of the available staff are out of work actors (muppets one and all) or young hippy European birds. Mind you, a few of them brighten up the place, especially when you’re after business in Scandinavia. Not that I get involved myself, but being on a diet doesn’t stop you reading the menu does it?

No, once clowns like Boo.com had bitten the dust and the VCs started getting cold feet we’d already made tracks back up the M1. Why fork out thousands for a London shoebox when you’ve got the likes of Lord Tom Bloxham (is he a Lord yet? I lose track) knocking out space for peanuts? It’s not rocket science.

The Great White stuck at it but ended up getting in bother over a vanity project. He wrote this rubbish erotic novel and ended up paying for its publication when the directors kyboshed publishing it through the company. Ended up hawking them door to door down the Charing Cross Road. He rung last month – he’d backed the Dome to win the supercasino.

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