Keeping it real

Lesley Shorrocks is Managing Director of a full service marketing and advertising agency sigma-marke

Lesley Shorrocks is Managing Director of a full service marketing and advertising agency - Credit: Matt Austin

LESLEY SHORROCKS reflects on an overload of information as the political scene hots up for businesses…and works out how to ensure it doesn’t become overwhelming

It’s a crisp and sparkling, sunny morning and in my Sigma office overlooking Plymouth’s Royal William Yard, the water’s looking particularly enticing. It’s a gorgeous spot and silently I pat my husband and business partner on the back for his enlightened suggestion to buy premises here 13 years ago, when Cremyll Street was still something of an ‘interesting’ area. I can’t help daydreaming, admiring the nautical view.

Right, I must gather my thoughts. Keeping up with news at the moment, let alone getting on top of my workload and the other activities I seem to get involved in, is beginning to make my head spin.

With a few weeks to go until the General Election, every day is bringing a plethora of news to my desk and door. As Chair of Plymouth’s Federation of Small Businesses and running a business employing eight people, I’m curious about what’s happening out there, but I’m sinking into panic mode…

Like my inquisitive Springer spaniel retrieving the (headless) dead pigeon during this morning’s walk, I can’t seem to stop myself seeking out the national news, regional issues and local stories.

Then there’s my Twitter feed and I seem to be on the receiving end of an unprecedented number of party political e-mails too - maybe I should just take a quick look? I’ve been tuning in to the car radio between appointments, checking in with the national TV news when I stumble home at night….

Each day, another political initiative or is it reconstituted news? My life seems to be punctuated with pithy soundbites and schmoozing Ministers during whistle-stop visits. Why, it’s a miracle - we’ve morphed into the ‘backbone of the economy’! I’m on a rollercoaster of financial facts and figures to assimilate, lots of what ifs, buts and maybes.

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The FSB Business Manifesto for the 2015-2020 Government is glistening in the sunlight on my desk…am I up to speed on its contents? If I were a sponge, I could soak up all the salient points, but middle-aged memory loss is definitely taking its toll.

I tell myself I have to stop this. I’m turning into a news junkie. And then it comes to me…

When did I start believing that everyone else knows the score? Didn’t I start a business 23 years ago from my garden shed and haven’t I developed it since using a combination of hard graft, reasonable intelligence, a supportive team and gut instinct?

I think about the real business issues I have on my plate – finding that elusive person to fill a skills gap in my company, weighing up the financial pros and cons of renovating this lovely old building, wondering if our latest pitch will be successful. The list goes on.

I relax. I know I will respond to whatever’s thrown at me with the same flexibility, dogged determination and true grit my fellow SME colleagues must exhibit every day.

Lesley Shorrocks is Managing Director of a full service marketing and advertising agency and is Chair of Plymouth Federation of Businesses, representing 900 members.

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