Robert Craven, one of the best ‘management thinker
s’ in the UK today, in his article on BusinessZone ”I am not an SME, you patronising ***!” makes clear a shocking home truth:
Big businesses and governments are totally, hopelessly clueless about small businesses
Thank God someone is saying it……and it needs repeating. The crucial organisation who fails to grasp this issue is ‘The British Government – the one who hold the Public purse strings’. More specifically the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
(BIS). A fantastic name, bursting with promise but it doesn’t seem to understand WHAT TO DO for UK small businesses (SMEs). It may know quite well “the problems SMEs face”, but appears to adopt ‘a headless chicken’ response. Can a brightly-coloured bus touring the UK with ‘Start Up Britain’ achieve much? Can a handful of corporates jumping on the Govt bandwagon at a no cost/low cost marketing opportunity deliver much to the marketplace? Why does not the UK Govt. secure investment and commitment to support upskilling small business competence, in a comprehensive programme delivered via the private sector…..
…..and don’t ignore start ups.
There are skilled start up advisers and business consultants who can deliver a programme of business support that can significantly improve the performance of the sector at a whole and would generate a return of investment to match the best in other Government public sector financing projects. The secret is to ensure that it is delivered via the private sector which will ensure the Government gets a competitive price. The Government must learn to manage its role better: to administer funding via competitive tendering and to ensure that it is widely spread to avoid profiteering and self interest manipulation. Proven success models exist, such as the MAS scheme in Yorkshire, and East Midlands in particular.