Top tips for northern businesses to rival London firms
There's been a north-south rivalry for almost as long as there's been a north and a south, but London hasn't always been the centre of British commerce.
Over the centuries, the north has played its part in driving British business forwards, from the docks of Liverpool to the textiles business of Manchester - and in Newcastle, everything from wool, to mining, to shipbuilding.
Now we're into a brave new world of commerce, with the internet redefining what location means to companies all over the world; so in the 21st century, how can the north do its part to lead Britain's economy once again?
The stereotypically straight-talking north has a natural advantage over the south where negotiation is concerned; while Londoners are often seen as wheeler-dealers, a northern regional accent often goes a long way to engender trust.
Perfect your negotiation technique with professional training from a specialist firm like The Gap Partnership and you can put this natural advantage to good use, developing local relationships to establish a strong, region-based supply chain that doesn't see all of your goods routed via the capital.
The north has historically been a place for significant innovation, through exploration, industrialisation or scientific research.
Many of the UK's major discoveries of recent years have also come from the north of the country, making it an important place for many firms' and universities' research and development programmes.
Everybody knows London is an expensive place to be, whether you live there, work there, or are trying to set up a business there.
Setting up in the north cuts the essential costs and can leave you better placed to turn a profit - and while it might be harder to charge so much for your products as well, the lower price could be all it takes to have your goods flying off the shelves.
Base yourself in London, and you're about 700 miles away from the furthest parts of the UK, in the very north of Scotland.
Position yourself in Newcastle, and the whole of Scotland is about 400 miles or less from where you're based; even Land's End is less than 500 miles away, although you might not realise it when you glance at a map.
Other key northern cities, from Scotland's most populated areas, to the M62 through Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Hull, are all within relatively easy reach too, helping to make your business better connected.
Simply taking some pride in your heritage can help a brand to come across as genuine and passionate, and northern pride is among the strongest pride there is.
Celebrate where you come from - and if your company has generations of history behind it, make a fuss of that fact - and soon enough you'll be seen as part of the scenery in your area, with customers keen to protect your brand for future generations.
This sense of community is what has always bound the north together - both in our individual towns and cities, and as a whole - and it's what can help northern businesses to stay strong for a long time to come.