Mind your Language | Blog | Foundation East

Mind your Language

I was having dinner with a business associate recently.  During the conversation it transpired that along with running his business he also owned and raced horses.  He further commented that he had a dead cert at 33 to 1 on a horse race coming up soon.  Now I am not much of a gambler but can see the attraction of a punt at those odds, especially if I am to believe the story being told by the horse owner.

Having only ever staked the odd pound or so on the Grand National, through a works sweepstake, my experience of gambolling is very limited and I have to confess my perception of the traditional betting shop or bookies is that of a dark, gloomy, smoky room frequented by the kind of fellows I would probably not normally associate with.  Even though I do appreciate that this has changed, not least because of the smoking ban but also because the huge variety of betting options now available on line and on mobile phones.  I am sure that the actual betting shops themselves have changed and are probably much more user friendly but my problem is not so much the environment in the shop but the language they use.  I simply don’t understand it.  What is a 5 fold accie? What is a bag of sand? What is a Canadian?  These are just a few of the commonly used terms used by bookies to take bets.

This got me thinking about other industries where you need to be in the know to be able to access their services or take part in the experience.  For example, why is there a special chip shop language?  Rather than asking for two 2 bags of Fish and Chips we are obliged to say “Fish and Chips twice”.  I always send someone else on the chippy run for fear of getting this wrong too!

What else?  Well it’s also true of the language used in the industry I work in; that of supporting businesses and lending them money to start up and grow their enterprises.  We use common terms such as Business Plan, Cash Flow, Trade Creditors, Profit and Loss, APR - all of which mean lots to us but are unclear and daunting to those who may want to access our services.  To overcome this, to make our services more accessible Foundation East runs half day courses for budding entrepreneurs and for people already in business, to help them understand these terms and to help them apply for finance.  Courses are run regularly and are available by visiting FE’s website

So, did I have a flutter?  Not yet as I am still waiting confirmation that the horse will run. I have however sourced a contact who does understand the language and can place the bet on my behalf. By the way, 33 to 1 is a “Double Carpet” in bookie terms.  You learn something every day!

  • About the Author
    Katy Ford

    Katy Ford

    Katy’s knowledge of community finance is extensive, having worked for Foundation East since its inception in 2004. She is recognised locally as an influential business leader by the Suffolk 100 and nationally, as a founding member of AskIf, an online network of community-based lenders. Previous to moving across to community finance, Katy was the treasury manager for a large insurance company. She also has experience as a SME owner, having run a small hotel.

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