In Business

Don’t forget the day job – Leading a seminar on Third Sector Brand Communications.


Although John has 11 years experience as a Borough and County Councillor, his ‘day job’ has been in senior business management for nearly 25 years, entirely within SMEs.

 “I had always really wanted to work for myself, “ he says, “But I had absolutely no idea how to run a business. This was completely alien to my family or my initial experiences in work. I also felt even then that too few people in public life had the real experience of day-to-day business, trading and job creation. I needed to get commercial experience and I wasn’t going to see how a small company worked by getting a job in a corporate structure, so I joined a medium sized technology enterprise.”

The company developed databases solutions for PCs and PC networks and designed clinical information systems, A&E and Outpatient and data integration solutions for NHS hospitals. John worked in marketing and communications, progressing to become a partner in the business before setting up on his own.

“I had no money at all to play with. I started up during a recession and needed to earn money immediately to pay the mortgage and feed the family. Somehow it worked. The best way to describe the business I’m in is it’s rather like an advertising agency but more at the consulting/designing end of things.”

John has since worked with businesses, charities and government sector bodies helping them communicate and sell products, services and ideas. As part of his work John has advised and assisted US companies on establishing UK-based European operations and has worked with major American technology corporations based in the UK.

John says, “All of the American businesses and entrepreneurs I have worked with have been very clear that setting up shop in the UK is about two key issues: the English language and access to the European Single Market. My personal experience bears out the facts, Britain punching above its weight on inward direct investment is a central benefit of our European Union membership.”

Although the majority of John’s business is UK-based, he has traded with businesses in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Romania, Germany and Ireland.

He says, “The question I ask myself as businessman is ‘would it be easier or harder for me to trade with any of the other 27 countries if Britain was outside the European Union’. My experience and common sense says it would be harder. I then ask myself how the larger companies we work with would react to Britain leaving? It isn’t about small v large. Small businesses trade with large businesses – when they do well we do well.”

John has made is clear that although he has enjoyed his time in business were he to be elected to the European Parliament, his role as an MEP would be his full-time job.