We, the small business owners and micro-entrepreneurs, are the forgotten, ignored and trodden upon solid foundation of the British, American and every other economy in the world. We employ most of the employed people and generate much of the new, ground-breaking discoveries that have shaped the world. We pay huge amounts of employment taxes, local business rates and tend to have greater loyality to our fellow local businesses, supporting local support services rather than going for the national groups.
However, big Government pays little heed to our plight. They presume that all business is big business with unlimited amounts of time and deep financial pockets, and so able to consume all the new bits of legislation, digesting and understanding the intricacies of what the legislature has to say for itself, while carrying the financial burdens of increased local and national taxes to pay for quangoes, pensions, sinecures and further layers of bureacratic inefficiency.
Sometimes it feels as if no-one really gives a damn nor that they will ever give useful help or advice. They criticise; god, isn’t everyone good at telling you what you should have done, what you have done incorrectly and what they would have done better, but practical, helpful, apt advice never seems to be available. Armchair advisers rarely seem ever to do anything themselves; yes, they have worked for big businesses or government, but actually to have done something starting from scratch and doing it all themselves, those people are really few and far between, then few (if any) of those ever have time to give you any help.
In spite of their best efforts, the lobbyists for small companies are pretty ineffectual as they do not have real, small business entrepreneurs at the centre of government that understand the difficulties of small businesses – what did Alan Sugar know about small business, having built a large empire and so assuming that all small businesses grow like big oaks from a small seed; most of us just run around in a never-ending wheel, getting tired but not much further forward despite our heavy exertions and great, grand schemes.
Nor am I talking about the bright and sparkly, sexy start-ups that find media favour on TV programmes like Dragon’s Den, nor techie startups that can find early stage capital from Enterprise Ventures like Yorkshire Seedcorn and live by cash-burn and flip on to a new buyer, rather than building a profitable, cash-generative business. Our newspapers are full of these successful, media savvy small companies.
I mean the small retailers, the pie makers, the painters and tilers, the gardeners and the tea shops, as well as the small butchers, brewers and shoe shops etc etc.
We toil. We busy ourselves. We strive. We have business dreams.
So from us, we say well done, you are all doing a great job. It is damn hard and at times soul-destroying, but carry on and you never know we might all become successful one day.
But do not expect any useful help from Government, bureaucrats and bankers as they do not genuinely have your best interests at heart; you are just there as cannon fodder to win elections, to tax so they can create new jobs, to busy themselves with in inventing mindless regulations to tie you in knots and waste your valuable time and so prevent you growing your sales, and to charge humungous arrangement fees and overdraft rates when you need leaner margins and overextend loans to you on low rates just when you should not be taking them.
This is a big shout out to all small business owners. You are doing great.