Time and Money
"Partners" — and Others
Minimise Your Exposure
The Final Result
Return to:World Views
Ardue Site Plan
See also:Small Business — Good Business
Information and Technology, Part 1
They probably include government, employees, partners, yourself, your dependants, and your friends. Do you think you could bear to rank them in order by the proportion of time consumed in dealing with them as compared with your customers? Or could you face up to comparing them in terms of the money (or money's worth) each of them receives from your business in a typical year? If you carried out such an exercise, how closely do you think the ranking would correspond to your own ideals?
For a start, it may help to realise that the government behaves as it does because politicians want votes. They, together with their civil service acolytes and regulation enforcers, act on the assumption that their best chance of achieving some semblance of power is to foster the dependency culture. They calculate, rightly or wrongly, that the number of lumpen, lazy, feckless, dis-spirited or honestly disabled people greatly outweighs the number of inventive, industrious, energetic people like yourself who have such independence of mind and strength of character that you will go on providing real goods and services no matter how exorbitant the taxes you are forced to pay or how unnatural the regulations that are imposed upon you in the name of 'employment protection' or some such shibboleth.
So the politicians somehow contrive a masterly conjuring trick whereby they can pose as the friends and saviours of the poor and downtrodden while walking roughshod over people like yourself who ultimately take all the risks and pay all the bills.
What, then, can you do to minimise the debilitating effects of government on your business? There seem to me to be four main strands to a business protection policy which might help you survive while keeping within the law.
The vast majority of owner-directors run businesses which operate on too small a scale for statistical considerations to be generally applicable. Thus 'management studies' courses devised for, and usually run by, large organisations are unlikely to be of much use to you. The myriad quasi-governmental organisations set up supposedly to "help" you are merely Trojan Horses devised or encouraged by government to make you feel they care about you despite all the evidence to the contrary.
There is a clear need for private enterprises run by owner-directors with first-hand experience of small business to develop courses for other existing and would-be owner-directors to provide training tailored to your requirements and with your interests at heart.
There is never any shortage of government agents and others telling you about your liabilities. They are not always right and sometimes exaggerate for effect. To defend yourself, you must know your rights as well as your responsibilities. A training course focussed on your problems, delivered in a convenient flexible format, and backed up by specialist help and advice when you need it, would go a long way towards solving your most pressing problems. This would seem to offer a good opportunity for educational entrepreneurs to set up business education businesses.
The regulations governing employment in the UK run so counter to nature that taking on an employee is about the greatest risk you can now take in business, and virtually forces you to adopt a strategy of not taking on any direct employees at all if you can possibly avoid it. Such a strategy will not only minimise your exposure to Payroll, PAYE and National Insurance processing (from which your business gets no benefit): it will also avoid your becoming involved with Industrial Tribunals and save you from having to defend yourself against claims of unfair dismissal on a variety of frivolous grounds.
Whenever possible, use the services of sub-contractors, whether self-employed or employees of other firms. Pay their bills promptly and with a grateful smile: you will not only be saving yourself a headache but also helping others like yourself to combat the dependency culture which is ruining our country.
If you find you must employ someone, try to recruit men of any age, or women in their fifties or older, whose loyalty is unlikely to be undermined by the exigencies of raising a young family. Avoid pregnancy-prone women if at all possible. If you need an attractive young lady to grace your reception desk, hire one from an agency.
If your computer is itself properly 'trained' to carry out whatever business processes you require, its human operators will seldom need much training themsleves. This will enable you to rely more on agency temps and reduce your reliance on permanent staff.