A Birmingham retailer rang with an average tale of woe – roadworks had re-routed business for a while, general competition was up, place needed a facelift but he couldn’t afford it. I say an ‘average’ call as I do get many like this. It doesn’t compare with the ones I get about badly failing health/imminent bankruptcy/shotgun-shoved-in-ear experiences. But as we all know, these niggles can eventually wear you down to the point that shutting up shop seems the only answer.

The real answer is to make some small changes yourself. How long since you did a leaflet drop highlighting the special offers and opening hours? Washed the windows? Shopped around for cheaper banking? Looked at joining a group for better buying terms and better deals on everything from debit/credit card transactions to office furniture? Most of this costs nothing or next to nothing.

I’m not preaching here or trying to teach anyone to suck eggs. Read any improvement manual and you’ll realise that there isn’t much new under the sun. It’s all about taking a different perspective. Between us, my Birmingham caller and I came up with quite a few ideas to juice up his business in the end.