Less New Year and more New Dawn?

By Deb Oxley, CEO of the EOA

At the start of each New Year, most of us look with optimism and hope at what the next 12 months might deliver.  And with the usual excesses of the season behind us, we make promises and set targets to stop doing things – don’t eat certain things, don’t smoke, don’t drink (at least for a while!).  Unfortunately most of these big promises fail as they are too ambitious, forcing us to make too many big changes all at once, and they are about not doing the things we are used to doing.

An alternative way of thinking might be that, instead of seeing the 1st January as a monumental date where we make commitments to stop doing things we know are not good for us, we view every new dawn as the opportunity instead to start to make a difference, to do something new and in a more evolutionary way, and ensure that each and every day throughout the year counts.

With the single biggest challenge for the employee ownership sector still being a lack of awareness amongst business owners, it’s certainly true that we should all be taking the daily opportunity to find new ways to contribute to overcoming this challenge.

Our aim is clear – to ensure that employee ownership enters the mainstream and is seen in every sector of the economy, in every size and age of business, and in every corner of the UK.

We will know when we are successful: when every accountant and lawyer knows about and offers employee ownership as an option to their clients; when the media report employee ownership as a key component of the UK economy in the same way other business structures are respected and reported; and when every business owner considering succession or growth is aware of the option of employee ownership and can easily find information and support to help them – either from the EOA or their trusted advisers.

So it’s not just New Year, but each and every day that provides a chance for those who know that employee ownership offers a better way of doing business to do their bit: to share the story of their own employee ownership approach in their regional and trade media; to tell other business owner about their structure at local events or gatherings; and to celebrate their successes, maybe by entering the UK Employee Ownership Awards or joining the celebrations on annual EO Day.  In this way,  just like losing weight or stopping smoking, each day builds on the last – and if every employee owned business is doing something to contribute to this awareness raising, we will achieve our aim together.

As the sector’s membership organisation, the EOA’s primary responsibility is to its members.  Therefore in 2016, alongside our daily responsibility to raise awareness and champion employee ownership, the EOA will continue to focus on ensuing that it is supporting the growth and development of the many different businesses that are committed to the EOA and employee ownership.

In achieving this aim, we will further build on the EOA Regional Networks, developing their value and encouraging more people to attend, to share and learn from each other; we will also continue to grow the EOA Conference programme, working with members to seek inputs and ideas to the programme and agenda; and we will continue to be the main contact for any member who seeks advice, guidance or introductions to support their own employee owned business.

So, let 2016 be about us all finding the little things we can each start to do to ensure that employee ownership enters the mainstream business environment, so that more and more organisations benefit from the tremendous value that it can deliver to individual businesses, employees and the UK economy.

I do hope that you enjoy reading the first issue of Employee Ownership Today, our new bi-monthly newsletter.  We hope that over time this will become, just like the EOA, a member-led publication – so please do let us know what you think and share with us your news and stories for future editions.