Sign My Petition
Here’s my e-petition http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18396
If you’re a UK resident you can sign the government e-petition I’ve started. If you’re not in the UK you may still find this blog about our UK campaign, to get a better and fairer deal for micro business owners (less than ten employees), of interest.
This e-petition is already ranked 14 out of nearly 500 government accepted e-petitions on business issues. Over 6,000 readers have read my blogs on this subject in under a week. Hundreds of micro business owners have already joined me in collecting signatures for the e-petition.
I’m Not An SME
The petition calls for government to reveal what they’re doing to support micro enterprise owners (those with less than ten employees and including start-ups) and not lump us into the disrespectful, meaningless and deliberately confusing term ‘SMEs’. Government use the term SMEs as a ‘catch all’ for their policy targets, in fact 99.9% of all businesses in the UK are SMEs.
The term SME allows them to meet their SME targets without including micro enterprise owners in the policy initiative or programme.
The media and institutional spokespersons will conveniently re-interpret ‘SMEs’ to mean ‘Small Businesses’. Everyone can then pat themselves on the back that they’ve done their bit for small businesses.
Small Business Owners are different from Corporate Managers
A career in corporate management and as a public official is usually about power, influence, large departments of employees and big budgets. They only get the big bucks by climbing the corporate, status, power and staff responsibility ladder.
In 25 years of running my own businesses I haven’t found a small business owner that runs their business for the above. Yet, our having less than ten employees is to large organisations and most government officials that we’re ‘not serious’, not ‘growth oriented’ and ‘lack ambition’.
This is wrong as it assumes a corporate model for business expansion. Ambitious micro enterprise owners often expand through bootstrapping, partnerships, acquisitions, using independent contractors and even family members and friends. Staff recruitment is not the only way neither is it my preferred way to growth.
Big Is Beautiful to Government
95% of all businesses in the UK are micro enterprises. There are 4.5 million. As the owners of these businesses we need to get together to ensure we’re able to compete on a more level playing field with the large corporates. Mostly we’ll do things ourselves but from time to time we need to work as a large team to get government policies that are fair to us.
If my petition is successful it will be debated in parliament and we can get a policy that ensures they do reveal what they’re doing for micro enterprise owners against larger companies. For example: on bank lending, public sector procurement, employee training, de-regulation, employment tribunal claims, employment incentives and start up support (against corporate bail outs).
News last week in the UK that the government is going to provide a hotline to a Minister buddy for the top 50 Corporates’ CEOs sums up how close the relationship is. It’s not even clear anymore who tells who what to do. The media is financed and run by large organisations so we can’t expect any favours from them either.
We Need the Power of Plenty
None of this is surprising as micro-enterprise owners tend not to fund or facilitate our political system, apart from as tax payers and tax collectors. Neither can we offer people lucrative positions before nor after they leave government. Add to this the fact that most senior civil servants, Ministers and senior management in large organisations haven’t a clue as to what it takes to start and run a business and it is evident that it will always be an uphill task trying to get fairness in policies, procurement and regulations for micro enterprise owners.
It is important that micro business owners get together from time to time to right wrongs which impede their ability to succeed. In the UK ‘the wrong’ is that over the last 15 years I estimate that 90% of the £billions of government support has gone to 5% of businesses with over 10 employees. The survival rate of new start-ups should be a very important issue for government but it’s not.
Hold Your Head High
I firmly believe that because we really care about getting the best from our staff and limited resources we are better at people management than most corporates. Because we want to walk down the street or meet our fellow business owners we’re better at paying for goods and services on time. I know we do more for our communities and are better at starting, managing and growing businesses than corporate managers.
My petition also proves that we’re better at networking and helping each other than corporate managers. Make sure you build your networks for when you need to right wrongs and protect your small business.
Finally, please, please sign the e-petition
My petition asks for clearer communication by government on the contribution and benefit of its policies, programmes and support/employment/skills bodies to micro enterprises.
Please sign it http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/18396 and then get all your friends to do the same