YouGov/Caffeine on Demand poll on attitudes to business: 47% think it’s “dog eat dog”, only 3% think it’s “caring and responsible”

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An online YouGov poll on attitudes to business commissioned by online training company Caffeine on Demand published today reveals a widespread negativity towards the world of business. It also reveals what people believe new businesses should prioritise.

We commissioned this research to find out what was going on in the British psyche regarding business. The results send a clear message to us as a nation. We need to revive a national belief that “good” business is good business

Over 2,000 respondents (gen GB adult population) described the world of business as:

  •     47% Dog Eat Dog
  •     29% Full of jargon
  •     20% Corrupt and dishonest
  •     7% Something I’d like my kids to go into
  •     3% Caring and responsible
  •     3% Attracts nice people

Welsh people were most likely to view the world of business as “dog eat dog” (60%).

Scots were four times more likely to describe it as “a force for evil” than people in the South East (12% vs. 3%).

Nearly a fifth (19%) of full-time students agreed with the “force for evil” statement, compared with the national average of 6%, and 3% of 55 or overs.

When it came to what should be important to a new business, getting customers was a clear priority, along with researching the business at 71% each, suggesting high levels of business understanding. However while this figure was 78% for the over 55s, it was 20% lower (58%) for those between 18-24, indicating a downward trend by generation.

LinkedIn users were significantly more likely to want their children to enter the world of business at 16%, compared with a national average of just 7% and just 4% in the North and North West.

Leading business growth advisor, David Kean said:

“We commissioned this research to find out what was going on in the British psyche regarding business. The results send a clear message to us as a nation. We need to revive a national belief that 'good' business is good business.

“For only 3% to believe business attracts nice people is extremely worrying – it means that the very thing that feeds the national purse is despised.

“But the research also shows that we are still at heart a nation of entrepreneurs and 71% understand that getting customers is what a business needs to do. However, there is a worrying trend in younger people towards not understanding the basics.”

Kean points the finger at TV “reality business” shows, a lacklustre approach by the Government and business figures who have fallen from grace:

“We have all, but particularly younger people, been ravaged by Dragons and soured by Sugar. A generation of bright, decent people has been put off going into business because they believe you have to be a ruthless fictitious stereotype. Heaped on top of this is the miserable failure of the Government to present business as an attractive option. Throw in a raft of media scandals surrounding a few bad apple business figures, and a perfect storm is created to turn people off going into business."

David Kean, who has advised a raft of FTSE 100 companies, continued:

“The ghastly reputation that the world of business has managed to acquire is a danger to our economy, a danger to our young and a huge pity for us all. We need to bring back the noble art of looking after customers, providing a decent service for them and to remember that we can do this. We are, at heart, a nation of industrious, conscientious natural business owners and workers.”

Results from the survey showed that if people were to set up their own business, they’d do things differently. When asked, in general, which elements they thought were important in setting up a new business, people answered as follows:

  •     Getting customers: 71%
  •     Researching the business sector/market: 71%
  •     Getting financed: 68%
  •     Writing a business plan: 66 %
  •     Finding out about government rules and regulations: 66%
  •     Finding a good accountant: 41%
  •     Getting a lawyer to protect your invention: 30%

David Kean continued:

“Overall, the survey shows that the Great British Public know what it takes to make a business work – i.e. getting customers. Which begs the question - why is there such a paucity of advice about how to do that? Why is all the focus on getting finance, getting lawyers, and tax systems? The Government’s online guide to starting a business kicks off with advice on debt and bankruptcy, for heaven’s sake.

“The findings of this survey support our original hunch that there is a real need for grown-up business advice that is less hysterical, more measured, less patronising and more experience-based than what's been available. Hence Caffeine on Demand's approach. Our courses are designed to give solid, proven advice to intelligent people who want to improve their business skills."

Survey details
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,009 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 3rd October 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).


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All businesses have to be able to persuade people. Too many pitches fail to dazzle and shine. This training programme has been designed to make pitching a pleasure by demonstrating the eight skills to make your pitch more likely to win the hearts and minds of your audience, and tip the playing field massively in your favour.

Building Rapid Rapport (60 mins plus interactive personality test)

In business, it is vital to be able to get on with people – clients, customers, colleagues. Most business problems and opportunities come down to how you get on with other people. Building Rapid Rapport will show you how to be you, but better, and how to identify people who are not like you...but still be able to click with them so they want to buy from you. Understanding how rapport works is the bedrock of far more effective communication.

Brilliant Presentations (48 mins)

Why are most presentations so prosaic? Presenting brilliantly is one of the last true differentiators left to many of us in business where products and services have become so samey. Most presentations are utterly dreadful – banal, over long, tedious and directionless. How refreshing, then, to create and deliver a stunning presentation which arrests attention from the start and never lets go until the last breath. This training programme shows you how to structure such a presentation, how to create it and deliver it so you conquer nerves, banish audience boredom and communicate with crystal clarity so the audience actually act.

Salesmanship (1 hour 10 mins with supporting reference material)

Salesmanship is an art form where, when it is done brilliantly, is a pleasure to experience. This training course will show you how people buy, how your expertise has a value to them, how to structure a proper sales conversation, how to ask questions and listen for answers, how to ask for the business and answer objections calmly and when to sell. It will coach you through the most essential skill in business so that it becomes natural rather than forced, nuanced rather than obvious.

David Kean

o UK’s leading “Pitch Doctor”.

o Has advised clients including Nissan, McLaren, FIFA, BNP Paribas and Ogilvy & Mather.

o Helped clients generate over a $Billion in new revenues with wins of brands including UPS, Carlsberg, Philips, IHG, UK Treasury and SC Johnson.

o Described in British Airways magazine as “the best and most merciless critic of flabby presentations you’ll come across”.

o Author of: Pitching to Win – The Art of Winning New Business; How to Win Friends and Influence Profits: The Art of Winning New Business from Your Clients.

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Alice Williams
Schneider Bartosch Communications
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