Will Your Business “Survive” or “Thrive”?
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Will Your Business “Survive” or “Thrive”?

from Steve Domb, Project Manager, BWCMG Industry Action Fund

When monies for the Industry Action Fund arrive ( ), they are often accompanied by statements from Contributors about the damage the Swiss policy on spare parts has already done to their business, and the devastating effect that the ETA embargo is likely to have. We get feedback from Companies that signed up long ago to become accredited Service Centres, who are worried by the restrictions on the calibres that they are allowed parts for, and some long standing and highly qualified Service Centres are finding themselves cut off altogether. The common question is “How will my Business Survive?”, but should you really ask “How can I make my Business Thrive?”
All businesses are at the mercy of external factors over which they have little or no control. What marks out the ones that “Thrive” from those that just “Survive” is the effort they put into preparing for potential issues, and responding effectively if they occur. But Small Businesses and One-Man-Bands just don’t have the resources and time to do an effective job, so what should they do? The answer is that they need to band together, and commit a small but sensible amount of resources to an effective collective effort, and that is exactly what the British Watch and Clock Makers’ Guild, and the Industry Action Fund (IAF) are all about.
There are resources out there that can help us overcome those external factors that threaten us, and can also help us to take advantage of the factors that can benefit us. But to get at those resources, we need to make a solid case, and that starts with having clear information on the size of our industry, the number of people who work in it, its economic value, and what its views and requirements are. The first task of the IAF is to conduct a comprehensive survey of the industry, and then use those findings to get the support we need to fight off anti-competitive practices, and obtain a proper share of the education resources for training and apprenticeships. To do this type of work properly, we need to raise £70,000. That is too much to ask any single entity to fund entirely, but is it too much to ask 700 One-Man-Bands to put in £100 each, or 70 mid-size firms to put in £1,000 each, or even 7 large organisations to put in £10,000 each?
Take a moment to think about how much time you waste, trying to track down parts for timepieces you are eminently qualified to repair, but are refused access to by some faceless manufacturer who won’t even talk to you. Or the work you have had to turn away from long standing customers for the same reason. If you are trying to expand your business, where is the training for the next generation of Watchmakers coming from so you can get the staff? And if you are looking to retire, shouldn’t there be a new generation wanting to buy your business for a sensible price, rather than you just shutting down and selling off your tools?
Since its’ launch, the Industry Action Fund has had contributions ranging from a few pounds to many thousands, and it is the volume of contributions that is as important as the amounts. It demonstrates an industry committed to a vibrant future and strengthens our case even more. If you have already made a contribution, many thanks for doing so. If you intended to contribute, but didn’t get around to it, please take a moment to email with your contact details and the amount you would like to pledge. If you think your few pounds wouldn’t make any difference, then please think again and email us also. We need to add your voice to the collective effort.
Life is a lot easier when you can stop worrying about how to “Survive”, and instead move your efforts into thinking about how to “Thrive”. If you want to reach that point, please work with those who think like you, and support the Industry Action Fund.