SMEs' unhealthy desire for Fry and Sugar

A survey suggests that Stephen Fry, of all people, would be small businesses' dream celebrity employee...

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Comedian Stephen Fry has topped a small business poll of dream celebrity hires. According to the survey, by BT Tradespace, 45% of respondents wanted to get everyone’s favourite polymath and Twitter advocate on board, presumably on the grounds that he’s so clever that he’d inevitably be of some use. In second place was Sir Alan Sugar, who at least has the advantage of being a business person, although we’re not convinced he’d be all that great at taking orders. And what on earth Kelly Brook and Victoria Beckham are doing in the top 10 is way beyond us…

We should probably stress that this is being promoted as a ‘fun’ survey, so perhaps we shouldn’t take it too literally. But some of the names in there are a bit odd, to say the least. Cheryl Cole is in third position, for instance – although we suspect that may be less to do with her undoubted empathy with damaged individuals on the X-Factor, and more to do with male respondents seeking some visual pleasure. Surely it’s a similar story for Kelly Brook, in sixth. And why the ability to drive a very fast car round in a circle repeatedly makes Lewis Hamilton worthy of joint fourth spot, we’re not quite sure.

However, we can see the sense in some of the other choices. Take Cole’s fellow judge Simon Cowell, who shares fourth spot with Hamilton – employing him as your HR manager when there’s a redundancy round looming would at least guarantee some office fireworks (ask Kelly Brook). And Peter Kay is another good option: in these gloomy times, there’s a lot to be said for having a bit of cheer in their workplace, even if you would have to hope he didn’t slip into his Phoenix Nights persona too often.

One interesting inclusion was BBC business editor Robert Peston. Not that we’re doubting his credentials – after all, few people know as much (or at least talk as much) about the credit crunch as he does. But you know the economy is in trouble when a financial journalist starts appearing in celebrity lists – particularly given that he’s actually ahead of Posh Spice (as he would be in almost every conceivable professional skill, arguably, unless your business specialised in clothes-wearing or relentless self-promotion).

But Fry has managed to trump them all, and by some distance too. Our only alarm is that – judging by his much-publicised walk-out from the West End a few years ago – he doesn’t have a great track record for dealing with pressure. Perhaps Lewis Hamilton wouldn’t be such a bad hire after all.

That list in full:
1. Stephen Fry
2. Sir Alan Sugar
3. Cheryl Cole
4= Lewis Hamilton
4= Simon Cowell
6. Kelly Brook
7. Robert Peston
8. Peter Kay
9. Victoria Beckham
10.Jamie Oliver


In today's bulletin:

RBS slumps to record loss - and Sir Fred gets £650k pension
British Gas fails to profit from higher prices
Berkeley plans to make hay from housebuilder woes
SMEs' unhealthy desire for Fry and Sugar
Why small businesses need strategy more than ever

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