Proud to be Micro
Some of you know that I’m the co-founder of the Enterprise Rockers movement – a massive free-to-join-in, global, self help community to make life better and fairer for micro (0-9 employees) enterprise owners. We launched in January so we’re coming up to our first anniversary.
The Enterprise Rockers movement is unlike any other ‘enterprise and business support’ organisation. It is not about Start Ups and is not Government or Big Business funded. In fact, all the time and skills have been donated by micro enterprise owners and all the money by Tina Boden (also blogs here) and I, who both run our own, separate, businesses too.
There’ll be Rocking Millions of Us
As we do not compete with small business membership organisations and networks and it’s free to join in, we will eventually have millions of Enterprise Rockers supporting each other, throughout the world.
We call this the Power of Plenty. Stefan Topfer, who owns this blog and WinWeb, is an Enterprise Rockers Band Leader and is the Head Roadie for Rockers’ international development. Stefan wants the Power of Plenty and he always gets what he wants!
Telling it as it is
All our Enterprise Rockers are positive about starting, owning and running their own enterprise. In fact most of us are unemployable and would never leave our own businesses.
However, we are also truthful about what it means in practice – what you need to do to survive and thrive. We help each other keep going – it’s not glam but it is practical and useful.
Because We’re Worth It
Naturally as business owners ourselves we spend a lot of time promoting that running your own business is a fab career. 1 in 7 of the adult workforce in the UK are doing it already and most of us don’t regret it. For most of us it is also the only viable way of earning a living.
However, make no mistake about it – it’s worth it but it’s tough and very hard work. 3 million of the 4.5 million micro business owners in the UK are earning below the living wage and the support available to help people to start a business is, in my opinion, at the lowest level this decade.
I’d like you to consider working with us because it makes sense for your business survival and growth.
People in top jobs don’t give a damn about us
I’ve always been very suspicious about people in top jobs glamourising and promoting the income and benefits to be derived from starting your own business. If it’s so good – why don’t they do it?
I’m not even sure it’s ethical for Government and the Banks to spend so many £millions on promoting ‘There’s a Business In You’, ‘Start Up Britain’, New Enterprise Allowance and many young enterprise and welfare to self employment schemes. They are promoting it hard as the unemployment figures only look acceptable because of self employment and part timers.
However, the reality is that each year that goes by Government and Big Business together hammer micro enterprises to make it more difficult for the owners to earn a living wage.
We need to find new ways to work together and trade together to protect our own futures. We need to find an equivalent way of doing what bigger businesses do through their trade associations, self regulatory bodies, professional advisers and membership organisations.
Bigger business is so well organised that under 10,000 businesses get 95% of Government employment, training and support funding each year. They pay less tax proportionately, than we do, and we’d go to prison for the corrupt practices that they are able to settle on.
Who can you trust?
Absolutely the worst thing we can do is believe the rhetoric and follow the boiled-down-corporate business advice and schemes from government, big business, mass media, gurus and academics. It’s persuasive but often very wrong.
Trust only in help and support from other micro enterprise owners – Enterprise Rockers – people that have got the T shirt.
This is not a political issue as most top politicians and senior civil servants give government funding and support to big business because they make policy decisions which are in the best interests of a small number of major employers and a small number of major contractors to government.
The big business lobbyists will always be more powerful than the small business lobbyists. In government and bank parlance the employed (‘strivers’) will always be favoured more than the unemployed (‘shirkers’) and self employed (‘lifestylers’) or ‘great unwashed’ – as they were once referred to me as.
We Have To Look After Each Other (Like They Do)
These Government/Big business policies – finance, training, taxation, energy, transport, infrastructure, insurance, food and drink, pensions, employment subsidies, ‘shares for rights’ etc – are, coincidentally, also in the best interests of their proponents’ careers.
It’s very unlikely, when they leave government, that they’ll choose a job in a micro enterprise in preference to one in or sponsored by, say, Goldman Sachs. Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson may both claim they are small business owners but how many start ups do you know that have £multi-million turnover on day one?
As the number of self employed and business owners inexorably increases year on year – it is now over 5 times more than 40 years ago – so the people in top jobs, earning top dollar, look after their own and we’re just punters. They really couldn’t give a damn about you and me – the 1 in 7 of the workforce running their own business – but they’ll pretend to.
So, if you’re a business owner, I’m asking you to acknowledge that it is not a level playing field but we can, together as business owners, make it more level – fairer and better for all of us. This is what I’d like you to do:
1. Please, wherever possible, buy products and services from other independent small and micro enterprise owners. Buy Indie Retail this Christmas too.
2. Please, spend a few minutes, each week, helping other non competitive, business owners that are newer in business than you are.
3. Please consider, getting involved with the Enterprise Rockers movement – help give us the Power of Plenty. You can do as much or as little as you like and it is free to join in. Download our Enterprise Rockers logo link and put it on your website. Spread the word #MicroBizMatters.