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Issue:- 2 December 2010

Darling, tell it to me straight.....

OVER half of Liverpool’s small business owners will turn to their husband, wife or partner before anyone else for straight talking business advice, according to a national survey of 2,000 small business owners by T-Mobile. Spouses and partners (58%) were preferred to accountants (16%), trade bodies (3%) or other local businesses and bank managers (2%). This trend was most prevalent in Liverpool than in any other region in the UK.  52% of Liverpool’s small business owners choose their business advisor based on who they trust to tell them the truth. A further 27% seek business advice from those who were most likely to “give it to them straight”.

Judi James, one of the UK’s leading behavioural experts, comments: “This research from T-Mobile highlights how highly we value those who get to the point and give it to us straight when discussing business issues. It’s understandable that we tend to turn to our partners for this honest and clear advice – they have the same goals as us and understand the complexities of the possible answers to our problems. Unlike other advisors, they have no hidden agenda and aren’t trying to impress us to secure a contract. Psychologically, talking to our partner is the closest thing we have to talking to ourselves. By logically discussing our problems with them we have to ‘straight talk’ the problem over. In this respect they become a vital sounding-board as well as an actual advisor.”

For T-Mobile customer, The Posh Tent Company – a company run by husband and wife team, Martyn and Andrea Rose – straight talking is vital to the smooth running of the business. Martyn Rose, co-owner comments:- “Although my wife Andrea and I work together, our roles and responsibilities are very different. To make both our professional and personal relationships work we have to be able to trust each other. She’s the person I will turn to first when I need business advice – I know she’ll tell me the truth without sugar-coating what needs to be said. We’re both busy people, so we don’t have time to act any other way.”

Martin Lyne, Director of SME Marketing at T-Mobile comments:- “80% of the small businesses we polled stated they take advice from people who will give them the truth and will tell it to them straight. As a supplier, we need to take a straight talking approach, offering small business owners uncomplicated products and services that simply help them get on with what they do best. The last thing we want to do is waste their time.”

T-Mobile commissioned the research into Straight Talking to better understand the time pressures business owners are under and determine how they prefer to communicate in business.

‘Lights, camera, access?’ – young campaigners to go undercover and put North West cinemas to the test

CINEMAS across the North West will be put under the spotlight, as 300 young disabled campaigners launch a nationwide undercover investigation into the accessibility of movie-theatres for disabled customers.

The Trailblazers, a network of 16 to 30 year old campaigners who fight for the rights of young disabled people, will become ‘mystery-cinema-goers’ at leading cinema venues over the holiday season. The investigation launched on International Day of Disabled People, following reports of wheelchair users being branded a ‘fire risk’ at cinemas, being forced to pay as much as £30 more than non-disabled customers for a ticket and even being refused entry to some venues if unaccompanied.

The Trailblazers will examine common problems including expensive and inappropriate seating, poor treatment at the hands of staff, broken lifts and inaccessible toilets. Cinemas will be given a star-rating on their performance.

A full report on the Trailblazers’ experiences will be published in January, celebrating accessible facilities, and naming and shaming those that fall short of the mark. The campaign aims to put pressure on cinemas to rethink their approach towards disabled cinema-goers, and to make it easier for wheelchair-users to access their local facilities.

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign’s Trailblazers project manager Bobby Ancil said:- “We are hoping our investigation will show that many cinema venues in the North West and other parts of the UK are offering a good service for disabled customers and that it will encourage Trailblazers to use and support these facilities. There is no excuse for discriminating against disabled cinema-goers and our report will both expose cinemas who are failing to consider the needs of all their customers and also offer guidance on what steps they can take to improve accessibility.  The Disability Discrimination Act should have made sure that disabled people can enjoy a visit to the cinema as much as everybody else, but it seems that many cinemas just aren’t prepared to make the ‘reasonable adjustments’ that the law requires.”

The Muscular Dystrophy Campaign is the leading UK charity focusing on muscle disease. It has pioneered the search for treatments and cures for 50 years, and is dedicated to improving the lives of all people affected by muscle disease.

It funds world-class research to find effective treatments and cures; provides free practical and emotional support; campaigns to raise awareness and bring about change and awards grants towards the cost of specialist equipment.

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