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It’s like there’s gold and silver and treasure in one part of my tummy and butterflies and insects in the other part…. was one of my children’s responses when they faced a new experience.

Facing something new, that mixture of excitement and nervous anticipation as they confronted something to which they didn’t know what to expect or how they’d get through it  –  but, because they’d dared to do it before, they knew they’d come out at the other side.

Micro and small business, running a `don’t upset the applecart’  outlook because they’re getting by just fine, nobody’s bothering them, and they can lie-low with inertia, has a wake-up call when that sensation kicks-in after they’ve being operating the routine of, in effect, wake up, go to work; do what has to be done.

Until…. along comes a decision or choice which has to be made…..

The butterflies are killed off by the insects and a sense of dread takes over after putting up with routines that are slowly strangling them. Staying with the bank that has a one-sided relationship, the supplier who doesn’t give good service or any other such `put-up-with’,  the sense of lurching that’s part of an owner-manager’s constant underlying anxiety hasn’t been tested out; their business hasn’t been alive.

That’s when their gold, silver and treasure moments have a butterfly and  insect invasion, like a customer facing a percentage increase, the moaning and blame displacement begins………

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

Bureaucratic Control at the Mindset Maze

Inflaming the notion of time costing money, the sense of over-regulation  to the point of distraction is a common experience for the small /micro enterprise; any ability to be flexible being taken away when relevance in proportion is replaced by overwhelming bureaucracy. For some, feeling like an overburdened force-fed goose, the business can be perceived as limited for competitive ability, stifled with a side order sense of entrapment as routine activity inches along the high walled maze with narrow passages made up from rules and regulations, on top of rules and regulations.

With such a thorn pressing into the side of business any navel-gazing is easily replaced with a distorted viewpoint. Regulation should remove the complexities of procedures,  however, when simplification becomes complex, it can be overwhelming to the point of shutting down a business to engagement.

 

Commercial law consultant and writer Parviz Owsia  wrote of the saying wherein silence signifies consent. Stretching that thinking into the small business culture, regulations, aimed at reconstructing a framework and conditions in which a business operates, has undefined economic implications because, other than knowing history has taught us that markets react, the past is no indictor of the future. With market conditions reacting to complex balances, the new economy is consistently a new economy to which pressures for small business markets aren’t specific; under difficult economic conditions, there’s no established response or course of action to be taken which is, ironically,  exactly the experience of many owner-manager’s key experience; being able to react  to change.

Businesses are intrinsically linked to a ‘culture’ of networks to which it is not only the customer who requires value, so too do suppliers of a product or service, just as both need to give value as part of their relationship.

Being able to evaluate and recognise that adapting means survival for growth, rather than survival as conservation to a state of almost hibernation, can prevent short term challenges becoming the long-term state; or termination. Adapting a mindset can be as great a challenge as interpreting the changing business environment. It is counterproductive, to do either as reactive resistance, or, not previously being agile, moving from inertia into action via regulation  is reinventing a business without considering its present situation, there is no strategy. Had Homer Simpson been referring to his business when he said , When you gave me that money, you said I wouldn’t have to repay it ’til the future. This isn’t the future. It’s the lousy, stinking now!, he obviously hadn’t  the right mindset, and there certainly would have been no reacting with a strategy for the change in his circumstances, regulatory or not, and there’d be no quoting him saying, ‘Time to activate plan B’.

So it goes, old ideas exfoliated away, leaving the core of a business exposed as to what it offers is a concept too far for traditional businesses grounded by their managing to muddle through, misinterpreted as a cushion of resilience.

 Action expresses priorities – Ghandi

(Image credits: Brett Jordan and SUF.   Article credit: Copyright SUF 2012)

 

 

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee has brought about much retrospective – Looking back at the economy  and thinking about how businesses were run very differently. There was the similarity of difficult economic times being shared 60 years ago, a time of hardly any FTSE 100, 250 ,or similar indicators, amongst a stock exchange that was similar to a club and difficult to imagine when we’re now in a time of the B-of-E’s MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) making decisions about pumping money  into a recession hit economy.

Following much data and statistics, the MPC meeting this week is expected to keep its key lending rate at the record low 0.50 percent although questions have been raised about the health of the economy with regard to consumer spending, austerity cuts and trading partner, Eurozone, continuing crisis. It seems that quantitative and easing will be the words to watch for June. The first Open Data Institute (ODI ) has been announced, to support the growth of new businesses on the back of Government data. It is intended as the place to go for those using data to drive economic growth and exploit the commercial value of open data.

Banks, building societies and credit unions  will be required  by the FSA to display information explaining deposit guarantee schemes to their customers. They will be expected to explain which schemes apply to their customer’s deposits; currently the Financial Services Compensation Scheme has a limit of £85,000, with further deposits not being covered included, for example European banks which operate in the UK. The ruling comes into effect 31 August.

A licence to landlord may become the necessary accreditation to being able to operate in Wales, under reforms being proposed. The white paper includes a ‘fit and proper’ test being carried out on landlords before full registration status and LA’s being given discretionary power to increase council tax on properties empty for more than a year; there is also to be a Code of Practice introduced.

The short term prospects for mortgages and other loans remains in jeopardy if the Eurozone crisis persists, according to the CML (Council of Mortgage Lenders). As the ‘cross-border nature of banking means that UK banks cannot remain immune to what happens in the Eurozone’. Mortgage lending dropped away in April and gross mortgage lending fell by 19% against March.

A government initiative, Start Up Loans, for 18 -25 year olds, is the new kid on the block for assisting start-up businesses in the hope they can put some vitality into our dull economy with their new businesses, although some might turn prematurely grey when they realise the rules and regulations  that some business types have to go through, and,  before they even begin with any ongoing red tape such as the recent ‘pastygate’ VAT row  which saw thermometers being readied for action only to be placed back down; following the U-turn about which product had what temperature at the point of sale. But, proving that entrepreneurs and small business go together (since at least 1952), a nine year old American was reported, in June 1952 of selling last year’s snowballs in that summer’s heat wave!

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF 2012)

 

 

The British are coming… the British are coming…..

  1. 95% of UK Businesses can be described as Micro-enterprises (having less than ten employees)
  2. UK Micro-Business accounts for nearly one fifth of the economy
  3. UK Micro-Businesses generate £613,266m turnover for the UK economy
  4. UK small and medium sized enterprise accounts for 99.9% of the total number of all private sector enterprises in the UK
  5. UK SME’s accounted for 58.8% of total employment and 48.8% of total turnover in the private sector (2011)
  6. London was ranked first place in the 2011 Global Financial Centres Index
  7. The UK is one of the world’s leading economies
  8. The UK is the world’s sixth largest economy and trading nation
  9. The UK has created five of the world’s top twenty best selling medicines
  10. UK private sector businesses have risen from 160,000 in the 1950’s to 4.5m

(Image and Article credit: Copyright SUF)

 


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