Scientia potentia est…

Speaking at the IoD Annual Convention last year Peter Jones said: “Times like this are difficult, but I will be a little controversial and say that, for an entrepreneur, this is the time. Recession, in my mind, can drive innovation – quite simply because we can do more with less. We are forced to do more with less.”

Nearly a year on and we are officially out of recession and unemployment levels are starting to drop slightly. So there’s good news for a change… However, history shows that it can take a very long time for all sectors to come out of a recession and unemployment rates— particularly for the under 25s—may well take a decade or more to get back to pre-recession levels.

The economy, although out of recession, is still in a delicate state. VAT at 15% helped to stimulate growth and there was a surge in purchases before the rate came back to 17.5% in January. The car scrapage scheme seems to have had mixed results with British car production falling by 31% in 2009, compared with the previous year. But there was a rise of 58.5% in December, which was the biggest increase since 1976. Inflation is now back at the top of the agenda, with a letter last month from the Governor of the Bank of England winging its way to the Chancellor, as inflation rose to 3.5% in January.

There still seems mixed message from businesses about the situation they are facing. For example, WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell recently suggested that the government may need to step in and help the newspapers, while other businesses are still growing, particularly entrepreneurs such as Will King, King of Shaves. Some directors, such as Simon Calver from Lovefilm, would go as far describing their business as recession proof. In a recent article in Director magazine a number of leading wealth creators were interviewed and asked what they wanted from No 10. Their answers highlighted the differing views and opinions from business.

So what does this all mean? Well 2010 is certainly set to be a year of change and a year where our business decisions and the decisions of our politicians will be need to be informed, decisive and above all effective. The English philosopher and statesman, Francis Bacon is famous for the phrase scientia potentia est (‘for also knowledge itself is power’). In 2010 the key for survival and success, be it in business or government, will be through knowledge and good judgment. This will help to give the power and confidence to make those crucial decisions with poise and conviction.

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