When I first set up in business I used to travel all over the country presenting my portfolio of works and trying to get business from wherever I could. I stayed in some fairly grotty places – the one I remember most was a Hotel in Scotland where my bedroom pillow was immediately next to the toilet bowl…stains included…..uuurgh nasty.

Whilst staying in what I considered to be one of my ‘better’ choices I noticed a catalogue advertising the ‘best hotels’ ….and I thought …BINGO…here is the answer to my dilemma – a list of all the best hotels in one book…BRILLIANT…. I bought a copy. I then drove home happy with my new purchase and thinking that all the guess work of picking where to stay was no longer an issue…

On arriving back at home in Glossop I proudly showed my wife the book – Mrs Clough was impressed and then said – …. ‘let’s have a look at what there is near us…?’ – she flicked through the book and stopped at a wonderful looking Hotel advertised with some fantastic looking pictures….

…..BUT HANG ON A MINUTE….that’s the grotty Hotel that’s just around the corner from our house, just by the council yard…????

…but it looks nothing like the pictures in the sales catalogue – the details say … ‘great restaurant’ and ‘luxurious rooms’ which we know to be complete bollocks. It doesn’t have a restaurant and the rooms are pokey and hot …how can my ‘Best Hotels’ book be so wrong….????? The photographs must have been taken by someone laying on the ground pointing the camera away from the Council yard and then ‘photo-shopping’ some trees on to hide the septic tank and the dead horse.

Getting to the bottom of this strange contradiction was one of the greatest lessons in my life…

I had naively assumed that the ‘Best Hotels’ in the ‘Best Hotels Guide’… were ranked on some system that graded out the crap and left in only the ‘best of the best’ so that when you chose a hotel from this guide – you knew that you were getting quality.

Well I was wrong.

What you get with this hotel guide is ….hotels that have paid to be in the guide.

What you get from restaurant guides is ….restaurants that have paid to be in the guide.

What you get from magazines about cars/books/clothes/food anything you care to mention is ….cars/books/clothes/food anything you care to mention….that have paid to be in the magazine

It’s as simple as… you pays your money… you are a ‘Best Hotel/Restaurant/car/clothes/food’…and ….given that the wages of the people that write the books/magazines are paid by the payment of these subscriptions…do you really think they will be kicked out for being crap…highly unlikely.

Soooooooo dear reader…what point am I making here…

Well, very much the point that just because you are in a book or organisation it doesn’t mean that you are any good at what you do. If an organisation/magazine/guide is looking to make money and is looking actively for new members then their selection system is already flawed – they NEED new members to feed the salaries and the admin and the offices and phones and website ….therefore they aren’t going to turn people away just because they are a bit below parr.

I have recently lost work to the ‘other’ trade body within the Invasive Non Native Species market. The home owner had been told that he must use the ‘other’ trade body – he had no idea why, he just had to use somebody who was in the ‘other’ trade body.

Surely to god – somebody should ask the question – what am I actually getting when I use this ‘other’ trade body….?

Would you rather use a Trade Body that went into the market to find another income stream for its damp proof members who were struggling during the economic downturn…

…or would you rather use a Trade Body that vets its members and has no requirement to make a profit.

If an INNSA member breaches our Code of Practice they are removed from the website and have their membership revoked.

So Japanese Knotweed Solutions Ltd, Trading for 13 years, some 10,000 plus projects successfully completed, 2890 maintenance sites still under our care….have lost out to Bollocking Damp Proof services of Bradford who haven’t got a clue what Japanese Knotweed is…they just happen to be a paid up member of the bollocking ‘other’ trade body that happens to have a mate in the mortgage providing body…


I’m working on it.


Mike C


0161 723 2000