Most Commentators view the business world as a small number of businesses employing a larger number of employees. The analogy is very much one of master and servant with the undercurrent of exploitation of employees to benefit fat cat owners not very far beneath the surface.
The reality is very different and becoming increasingly so. Over 60% of our population is either a small business owner or works directly for a small business.
Few of these concerns plan much beyond the immediate and even less have the resources or training necessary to propel them to the level of success constantly promised by our political leaders. Indeed 80% will not last five years.
A successful small business community in Croydon should be the priority of us all. Not only will profitable business improve the lifestyles of a majority of local residents but there is also a magnifying effect. Of every £1 spent with a small local business 63p is recycled in the local community. This drops to 40p with larger concerns.
But none of this is new. How can we stimulate our local small business community to do better so that the benefits can cascade through to all the interested parties associated with those businesses?
In three minutes it is difficult to provide all the answers, but a charter that can add to the training and resources and stimulate its members to look locally for its suppliers is a great place to start.
However these types of initiatives take time to develop and engagement is the key. If the Small Business Community doesn’t engage then the Charter might will evolve to fit the needs of larger concerns. This would be a bad outcome for Croydon.
And paying the London living wage? It will no doubt put some small business owners off. There will also be some low skilled sectors where the economics will not add up. But is that the Croydon we want? Would we prefer a high skilled and continually evolving and flexible small business community with a developing workforce? or are we prepared to settle for a bargain basement outcome where the options available to our population revolve around which low paid unskilled job they wish to do next ?
As a local small business owner I know what I want to see and with the Commitment of the Councillors it makes perfect sense to engage in this process and to try and direct it towards benefitting small local business. I would urge other small business owners to join me in this endeavour.
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