Business Poll Results
This Monthly Poll:
Brexit and business - So Theresa May triggered Article 50 and the UK is unequivocally heading out of the EU. Business wise we all have little choice but to accept it and move forward, but does your instinct tell you that...
Results will be available soon!
My daughter works in the tech world and a significant part of her emolument is and annual profit/performance related bonus. She loves her job and works tirelessly, looking forward to it at the end of the year.
So... do you think profit or performance related bonuses do actually incentivise employees?:
4th November 2016 - 13th April 2017
- a) Yes without a doubt - 63%
- b) Well I have mixed experiences - 28%
- c) No, in my experience they don't work - 9%
Its pretty clear that most people by a large margin find profit related performance bonuses work as an incentive. I have to say that in my own personal (and I have to emphasise the "personal" aspect of this) experience, is that they don't work, though employees were only too keen to accept the payment, but not necessarily put that extra effort to earn it.
If you had windfall to your business of say... £50,000 that was not needed for difficulties of any kind, would you spend it on:
20th September 2016 - 3rd November 2016
- a) Revenue expenses like marketing - 20%
- b) Capital expenses like computers - 33%
- c) Retaining a consultant - 0%
- d) New company cars - 7%
- e) Take a whacking bonus - 40%
In truth, not so many people responded to the poll this time, whether that's because of the question or not, we'll never know. Having said that, its interesting to see that no one was interested in retaining a consultant (poor sods) Now discount the people who voted in our office (err well ok, that won't make too much difference and they all voted to take a whacking bonus), the majority thought in terms of good business investment rather than having a jolly.
- a) Confident about the future - 37%
- b) Pessimistic - 43%
- c) Things won't change - 2%
Well, perhaps we left this particular poll up too long, but we certainly hope, the strength of the pessimism proves to be unfounded.
In your experience, do you feel companies get value and loyalty from staff who can work from home?
03rd February 2016 - 25th April 2016
- a) Yes without a doubt - 21%
- b) I'm certain there are some who swing the lead - 39%
- c) We tried and I don't think it gives value - 30%
- d) No, it just doesn't work - 10%
Quite a split view, isn't it? Not to many feel it is definitely an outright failure, but there is a goodly few at 70% who are far from that view.
Are you able to clearly demonstrate that your social media efforts create sales?
16th October 2015 - 03rd February 2016
- a) Yes absolutely - 31%
- b) Well I'm not sure and often asked - 25%
- c) No, it's a waste of time but we feel we have to - 44%
Well, 44% of the people in our poll thought that social media was a waste of time but they had little choice but to engage in it. Of course 31% thought it clearly created sales and 25% said they weren't sure. Its interesting though, the Web can have such a vast impact (both positive and negative) on business, it's a strong person who ignores it!
Apparently nearly half of eligible people are not paying into a pension, so we wondered if:
18th August 2015 - 16th October 2015
- a) Yes I'm paying into a pension ni - 14%
- b) I've recently increased my pension contributions - 29%
- c) No I'm not paying into a pension - 43%
- d) I have recently cancelled my pension contribution - 14%
Are we allowed to express shock? Really, we are staggered to see under half of the people who took part actually pay into a pension. And there are those who have cancelled their contributions, although in fairness, as one used to be very limited in what you could do other than buy an annuity perhaps its greater freedom that's driving people to invest differently that is shown in the results... interesting stuff.
Given the fantastic success or Airbnb (www.airbnb.com), at £28 Billion now valued at more than Marriott Hotels would you consider using Airbnb for your business trips?
24th July 2015 - 17th August 2015
- a) Yes absolutely - 25%
- b) Yes and I already have done -13%
- c) No, I expect a recognised standard for business trips - 63%
Ummm... we have to comment that we find these polls truly fascinating, but was that predictable? I guess if you're travelling for business, the majority of people don't want to take a risk with where they're going to stay before that all important meeting!
Given Walmart, Ikea and Gap have, do you think Government should legislate to introduce the living wage to lower paid employees?
27th March 2015 - 24th July 2015
- a) Yes absolutely - 51%
- b) Yes, but slowly over a period of time -26%
- c) No, it could be prohibitively expensive - 23%
Well that was a pretty clear YES! Then… (to the introduction of the living wage) although there is still a lot of argument with local councils warning it could cost millions and the government saying other EU Countries have a higher minimum wage than the UK; still the argument goes on, but for those in favour, there is certainly momentum in that direction.
Most everyone will be aware of the impact of cheaper oil, but do you think cheaper petrol and diesel will be a significant help to your business
23th January 2015 - 26th March 2015
- a) Without doubt a significant help - nil
- b) Yes, it will make a difference - 30%
- c) No, perhaps at home but not business - 50%
- d) No, its good to hear, but won’t be significant - 20%
Interestingly, no one thought it would make a huge difference, but a month on and with inflation at zero, the lowest its been since the 60’s perhaps if we got the transport managers of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the like, we would have seen a different response because if you’re in the transport sector it much make a big difference – ho hum, perhaps we need a better question.
When Google started paid listings or advertising it was a boon, but now it’s complex and hugely competitive where is the best place to advertise?
22th January 2015 - 12th February 2015
- a) Google adwords - 27%
- b) Local Newspaper - 9%
- c) Trade magazines - 19%
- d) Television - 9%
- e) Other - 36%
Umm… interesting, so though Google is almost all powerful online, 36% of people would advertise somewhere else. For what its worth, what prompted this particular poll was the thought that developing a brand was becoming increasingly difficult and certainly to do so online, unpredictable and expensive, so perhaps taking a step back (so to speak) television advertising might just see a resurgence.
So for this poll, we thought it would be of interest to know what you felt held you back from expanding…
11st December 2014 - 21th January 2015
- a) Employing good staff - 60%
- b) Retaining the staff I already have - 0%
- c) Getting funding - 29%
- d) Customers paying slowly - 11%
- e) Bureaucracy - 0%
Well what’s of interest in this Poll is that no-one said Bureaucracy or staff retention was a problem! Well that’s good news, although in truth we wonder if this particular poll was run over the Christmas holiday period and just maybe it was a case of not as many people responding. However, rhetorical it might be, but ofr how long have business people been shouting out for good staff? And on top of that, getting funding! I don’t think we would have dared predict the replies, but I think If we had then attracting good staff would certainly be up there!
Given the opportunity, do you think that working 4, ten hour days a week instead of 5, eight hour days would be:
1st November 2014 - 10th December 2014
- a) Something I’d love to try - 87%
- b) Difficult to do into practice - 13%
- c) Upsetting to my family routine - 0%
Now this is a first for our poll’s ! The interest in the poll was significant, but as to the question of trying to work less days a week and more hours daily no-one said it would be upsetting to their family routine and the huge majority wanted to give it a go! From a business point of view (having run a number of companies) I’m not sure how it would work. I guess though, that with commitment from both sides to make it work whilst ensuring essential services were maintained I don’t see how theres a downside, but then again you would need some very understanding staff for you to be able to back track on such an arrangement.
As Ryanair have made great strives to improve their image lately
6th October 2014 - 30th October 2014
- a)Yes I'll give them another chance - 36%
- b) No way… - 46%
- c) I'll leave it for a while… - 18%
Of course we have the benefit of this poll being "ours" although equally the answers are everyone else's, but we were a little dismayed for some time at the lack of interest in it. Did that mean lack of interest in the issue? Well we were just as delighted to find that in the last few days there has been a flurry of interest. Interestingly though nearly half of those who responded have no interest in giving Ryanair another chance!
Children should be taught about money management at school from the age of 10?
30th August 2014 - 5th October 2014
- a) Yes, it would help many as they move into adulthood. - 95%
- b) No, School is not the place to teach domestic budgeting - Nil
- c) Well certainly not at the age of ten - 5%
We liked this poll, particularly given the current austerity throughout Europe and my goodness the results show the biggest result for a single option we've ever seen with many, many people agreeing that teaching young children the importance of fiscal awareness.
The Chairman of the Bank of England says that interest rates could reach their pre-recession levels, so that means, lets say… 5%. Do you think you could pay your mortgage if interest rates reached that level?
22th June 2014 - 29th August 2014
- a) Yes - 33.3%
- b) No - 33.3%
- c) I don't have a mortgage - 33.4%
Well for the people who won't have any difficulty to those lucky ones who don't have a mortgage, I guess there's not much to say. But for the 33% of respondents who say they won't be able to pay the increased monthly payments it must be an enormous worry, although perhaps the most shocking thing is such a high percentage at 33%, which we really, really didn't expect. We really hope it doesn't come to that and all of those who believe they will struggle, find support. Indeed if you are amongst those, you may be interested in this link https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en to the UK Government financial advice service. Its services are free.
So, a simple topical question this month: Do you think the recent success of UKIP will:
3rd June 2014 - 21th July 2014
- a) Turn into real success in a general election. - 40.9%
- b) Having been a warning shot to the main parties, they'll loose momentum. - 59.1%
Ok, so this one didn’t have too much to do with business, although it could! Opinion though, was that (just over) 59% of contributors felt the support for UKIP was effectively a “shot across the bows” and that come a general election such support will slide quietly away whilst voters opt for the more credible and perhaps palatable parties – we will all find out won’t we…
We often read that low interest rates are what business needs, but we have spoken to many directors who feel that if performance is so tight that 3,4 or even 5% difference in interest rates would make so much difference, a company really needs to look at its financial model.
Would you say that business interest rates are…
25th April 2014 - 2nd June 2014
- a) Not as important as many make out - 78.6%
- b) Critical to the success of UK business - 21.4%
As business people this was a fascinating poll as nearly 79% of people who responded said that higher interest rates where not as important as is generally muted. Frankly we agree and have often wondered why the British Institute of Directors make such a big fuss over interest rates… interesting stuff.
So a bit of a social question for this months poll: Given that April is traditionally the month of budgets, would you rather see…
18th March 2014 - 24th April 2014
- a) Lower taxes - 70.1%
- b) Greater help for the genuinely needy (disabled, blind etc) - 29.9%
With over 70% of respondents preferring to see reduced taxes rather than helping the genuinely needy, we have to say we're a bit surprised and as this little overview is our editorial opinion… disappointed. We can't get our mind around the fact so many would think of themselves first. Perhaps it's modern society, but it's certainly a reflection on todays society and encouraged by Government who have slashed support for poor and disabled alike – until next month…
For fun, businesses always need money, particularly new set ups, but what if you won the lottery? Would you…
31th January 2014 - 17th March 2014
- a) Continue working, I love my job - 18.8%
- b) Never go back to the office and pay someone to close it all down - 37.5%
- c) Keep working as a hobby, but help family and friends - 43.8%
Well we thought this was an interesting one, perhaps made more so with the British couple Colin and Chris Weir recently winning the largest UK payout of the Euro Millions and we'd love to say that we were whiter than white and would definitely be heading back to the office, but for the chance to make such a decision! What we were genuinely surprised at though was the nearly half who said they would keep working and help friends and family! Good for them although I guess it depends just how much you won.
I read an article once that explained how some people include a businesses horoscope to help in their decisions – I kid not, they took the day the company was established as its birthday. What are your thoughts?
4th December 2013 - 31th January 2014
- a) Na, not me! What a load of tosh - 50%
- b) If one of my key staff believed strongly in it, I’d listen - 16.7%
- c) I’ve always loved reading my horoscope and bet it would be interesting - 33.3%
We were interested to look at the results of this poll, as so many thought they would try and were interested in a horoscope for their business. Indeed as the graph shows some 33% of contributors said they would do so with another nine percent saying they would listen if their staff felt strongly – interesting stuff! Of course over half thought it was all nonsense or “a load of tosh” to be precise. Until the next poll…
We read of offices with putting greens and Green Peace has a climbing wall – Google famously has social area’s, wacky imagery a baseball court and more.
Having said all that, we put a chill-out room in our offices including a pool table and Xbox, but after 12 months or so no-one used it, so, regards some wacky additions to your offices would you say:
11th October - 4th December 2013
- a) Oh cool! Bring it on - 62.5%
- b) Well I don’t have time to play - 25%
- c) If I have time to chill out I’d do it at home - 12.5%
With 62.5% of the vote, there was a resounding result in favor of “bringing it on”! Whilst 25% or respondents said they don’t have time (boring…) and the balance of 12.5% saying they would chill out at home.
Interestingly, we also set up chill out areas in our offices some years ago. It included an Xbox, pool table and tea and coffee making facilities which was all very popular to begin with and certainly a little bonus when recruiting (although whether that made any difference at all we’ll never know), but within a year or so it was hardly used and after another year we took it out, so what does that tell us – I have to say I certainly have no idea and was surprised and a bit disappointed, but I think I’d try again that’s for sure.
A hot topic perhaps, as Jamie Oliver has kicked up a storm recently when he said that European Union migrant workers are more willing and harder working?
2nd September - 10th October 2013
- a) Yes, in my experience it's true - 75%
- b) No, I think he's wrong - 8.33%
- c) He said it to draw attention to himself! - 16.67%
So we’re not here to judge, but (whilst rounding the numbers) 74% of people felt it was true that migrant workers were more willing against 9% disagreed and 17% felt Jamie said so to draw attention to himself. Ah well, one thing’s for sure, that he’s a successful and popular chef and television character as well as stirring up a bit of a storm with his criticisms of the way the not so well off eat and maybe his comments were timed to co-inside with his latest TV show as some say, but the survey says…
Given some of the very high profile takeovers like the recent US drug maker taking over Ireland's Elan (for over 8 and a half Billion Dollars), BMW taking over Mini and Rolls Royce, the sale of Cabury's and more, are these takeovers good for the UK and Ireland generally or draining us of our most revered companies?
1st - 31st August 2013
- a) Good for the Uk and Ireland - 25%
- b) Draining us of our most revered companies - 75%
Given the head of Britain’s Air Traffic Control earned a bonus of £303,000 as part of his £720,000 package this year, do you think that such packages are…
12th - 31st July 2013
- a) Obscene under any circumstances - 41.67%
- b) Excessive, but probably necessary to attract the right person for the job - 58.33%
Well as you may have seen if you took part in the survey, the results are pretty close with (broadly) 58 to 42 saying it is “excessive but probably necessary to attract the right people”.
In particular we feel the results demonstrate the dilemma that companies and institutions face when recruiting. We can’t see that anyone would be thinking that paying huge packages was the thing to do for it’s own sake, but as is the case in so many sectors, it’s not easy to attract the right people.
Our survey for August 2013 looks at the take-over of some of the United Kingdom’s most loved companies.
With better than expected Uk growth figures announceds do you think that the coalition's policies are working?
15th - 30th June 2013
- a) Yes - 61.54%
- b) No - 38.46%
As tributes are paid to the late Baroness Thatcher, where do you think her economic legacy has left Britain 25 years on?
9th - 22nd April 2013
- a) Better off - she saved Britian from economic lethargy - 37.93%
- b) Worse off - privatisation & pit closures led to unemployment, higher prices & a fat cat society - 51.72%
- c) Who's Baroness Thatcher? - 10.34%
We really like this survey and what more topical subject than Mrs T! Of course we have to present the results of our survey in an impartial way, but with more than half of respondents feeling we're worse off after privatisation and pit closures it's difficult to argue. Having said that nearly 40% feel the UK is better off and she re-vitalised the British economy and that we think is pretty representative, given the polarised opinions which were seen on the television at her funeral.
In light of last week's Budget, do you think the coalition is doing enough to reduce the deficit and generate growth?
25th March - 8th April 2013
- a) Yes, money doesn't grow on trees! - 16.7%
- b) No, we need a new plan! - 66.7%
- c) Don't Care - 16.7%
There is ongoing controversy over the British economy and as one might expect there’s opinions are hugely divided over the issue of the UK’s 2013 budget at the end of March. Topically, even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) gave a gentle nudge that we could do with some relaxation in the Governments austerity measures, but George Osborn is not to be moved.
It’s interesting though that in our survey, most people, indeed 66% think we need a new plan.
Two years after its launch and with 500 million purported users worldwide, do you think Google’s social media platform, "Google Plus", is on track to overtake Facebook?
11th - 25th March 2013
- Yes, Facebook's days are numbered - 22%
- No, I'm not convinced so far - 78%
- I don't use either! - 0%
So the results of our latest survey are in and over 70% of you felt that Facebook was so much a part of your day to day life, with all your contacts and friends on there too, there was no way Google was going to win this particular battle just yet. But with Google+ profiles now rumoured to have a significant effect on a website's postion within Google's search engine results, I wonder just how long Facebook can maintain this dominance. Watch this space.
With the news last week that the UK has lost its top AAA credit rating, has the government got it's austerity measures horribly wrong? Should they...?
25th February - 10th March 2013
- Relax austerity measures - 42.9%
- Continue as planned - 42.9%
- Impose more spending cuts - 14.3%
Not surprisingly an equal split between continuing with the current austerity measures or relaxing them. It is an interesting result as it reflects opinions as broadcast between the Conservatives versus Labour and recent IMF calls for a relaxation to encourage growth.
Whether relaxing measures will only prolong misery or help growth is debatable. It seems that the Quantitative Easing is not working and the banks are not lending to small businesses. Vince Cable said of QE a few months ago "Does it work, or … does it have so many negative consequences we shouldn't do it any more?"
As always there are no easy answers, but certainly banks need to be encouraged to start lending to small businesses and the government needs to encourage productivity in the economy whilst maintaining fiscal discipline to reduce debt.
With Comet, Clinton Cards, Jessops, Blockbuster and now HMV all entering administration in the past few months, will 2013 signal the beginning of the end for the UK high street?
7th - 24th February 2013
- Yes, unfortunately it does - 46.2%
- No, people will always need shops - 38.5%
- Perhaps if some of their competitiors were paying corporation tax, the high street wouldn't be in this mess in the first place! - 15.4%
Another surprise result. I think the nature of High Street will certainly change but more and more retailers need to use a multi channel approach to survive and to not have a store in my view for certain products would be a mistake.
I would be unlikely to buy a piece of furniture or a bed for example without actually being able to see or try it out at a store but I might want to purchase this online later or compare prices. I really hate buying clothes online without having seen them in the flesh and having the hassle of returning them and would much rather see and touch and try the item in a store. John Lewis amongst others use the click and collect or delivery approach really well.
Online printer "Moo" has just moved onto the High Street in Shoreditch London. You can create designs online and collect in store. The retailer said...
"Personal branding and beautiful design is so important to our customers that we wanted them to be able to actually touch and experience it. The Moo Shop is the perfect way for them to interact with our products and experience first-hand what they online."
I think retailers will always need some sort of showroom. What do you think?
Does success in business lie in authoritarianism, ambition and risk taking or is it more likely to thrive on responsibility, integrity and paternalism?
22nd January - 6th February 2013
- Ambitious risk taking - 37.5%
- Integrity & paternalism - 25.0%
- Neither, its about being in the right place at the right time! - 37.5%
Isn't it sad that in todays business environment it is thought that a business is less likely to succeed on integrity and paternalism rather than an authoritarian approach. Sadly it's a dog eat dog world and "me" culture and there does seem to be little loyalty on the part of employees and bosses.
I have worked for authoritarians and it can be counter productive with a high staff turnover but I have also worked for companies that adopt a paternalistic approach and watched in awe as staff take unfair advantage of a good boss. I do however agree that a lot of businesses have succeeded by being in the right place at the right time with an element of luck however, an entrepreneur would have had to have had the epiphany in the first place and success in business is rarely achieved by luck alone but incredibly hard work and foresight.
Do you think that business can make a difference on a small scale by being environmentally friendly?
3rd - 21st January 2013
- Yes - 58.3%
- No - 41.7%
Pretty even pegging which again is a surprise. I thought the result would be overwhelmingly the vote for no difference. We are now so used to recycling at home with certain counties imposing fines and most offices and industrial estates now recycle rubbish. That's great for cutting down waste on a small island. Until the US signs up for the Kyoto Protocol and other developing countries such India get to grips with their emissions and Brazil with the impact of deforestation of their rainforests, I think any unilateral action is pointless. Do you agree?
With Vince Cable recognising that a triple dip recession is now a real possibility, how do you expect your business to fare in 2013?
11th December - 2nd January 2013
- Large growth - 0%
- Slight growth - 11.1%
- Pretty much the same - 55.6%
- Slight contraction - 22.2%
- Large contraction - 11.1%
The results seem to indicate that business confidence in the economy has not deteriorated further given the lower growth forecast by the Bank Of England. It's quite surprising, but in itself business confidence has an impact on the economy and if it remains buoyant then its not a bad thing. It also seems that the international pressures on our economy such as the US fiscal cliff issues and Eurozone crisis have yet to have an impact on confidence. I would have put my money on the largest percentage being a slight contraction.
Do you welcome the Government's decision to allow parents to split maternity leave between themselves?
26th November - 10th December 2012
- Yes - 76.5%
- No - 11.8%
- I'd rather be at work thanks! - 11.8%
With more women becoming the main earner in parallel to more men accepting the woman's changing role and an increasing male desire to enjoy fatherhood and become more of a hands on parent, the results of our poll are unsurprising although we would have expected it to be even higher!
Do you think Facebook will eventually replace email? (as it plans to)
12th - 25th November 2012
- Yes - 9.4%
- No - 46.9%
- Dear God, I hope not! - 43.8%
The results split evenly between "No" and "Dear god I hope not" indicate that perhaps we are not ready for a full Facebook communications takeover with regard to business users at least. I do suspect that putting the same questions to non business users and students the response would have been more heavily weighted towards "yes".
Businesses are indeed moving towards the use of Social Media for branding and marketing but are still in general somewhat wary of Social Media use in the workplace and the amount of non productive time wasting it can generate.
As a business owner, would you be prepared to offer your employees the voluntary living wage of £8.55 p/h in London and £7.45 elsewhere? Current statutory min wage is £6.19 for over 21s.
05th - 11th November 2012
- Yes - 27.3%
- No - 54.4%
- Yes, but only if they're already
on a higher salary... ;) - 18.2%
We found it encouraging that 27% of respondents have taken a paternalistic approach and would be prepared to offer more than statutorily required. Our feelings are that staff who are paid well and happier, are more motivated and productive, and likely to do a better job.
An ROI is more difficult to determine on increasing salaries unless you are able to measure actual productivity and with many small businesses struggling to survive (but at least are still employing people) it's unsurprising that the majority of business owners in this tough economic climate would not implement the voluntary living wage.
How much time does your business spend on social media each week?
29th October - 04th November 2012
- None - 0%
- 1-2 hours a week - 14.3%
- 2-5 hours a week - 28.6%
- 5-10 hours a week - 28.6%
- 10+ hours a week - 28.6%
Interesting that the results of our weekly poll show that only 28.6% of respondents spent over 10 hours a week on Social Media. It's a pretty even spread across the board. Perhaps not surprising given the lack of resources and funding that most SME's and managers face, the time consuming nature of Social Media and the difficulty in benchmarking and assessing a ROI.
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