David Cameron recently announced that he was going to cut 3000 items of red tape as a way of helping small businesses. For instance out goes that riveting read “Cattle Movement Guidance” – all 640 pages of it! Also 286 pages of hedgerow regulations will disappear! I am not quite sure how that will benefit the majority of companies that operate from an office or in an industrial estate in the heart of some of our cities. He also mentioned that over 600 rules had already been swept away but have small businesses benefited from it? Are they even aware that these rules have gone? But he also said that it would take nearly 2 years to get rid of the rest! A slow motion war indeed.
When senior politicians start to talk about the war on red tape, I start to worry. I worry that such a major announcement (it was in all the media including online, print and broadcast) is because the Government is bereft of ideas on how to help small business develop and grow. They always seem to revert to the ‘war on red tape’ as if that is the panacea for all the problems that business owners have. Their theory goes that if they get rid of all the red tape (they won’t, they never do!) then businesses will save a lot of money, be more profitable and do more business. In theory they are right. Superfluous bureaucracy is indeed a drain on the resources of small business. But some red tape is a necessary evil and needs to be in place.
As James Hurley said in his piece in The Telegraph “….. it’s actually a rather lazy assumption about what entrepreneurs believe is holding them back…..”
Business owners by their very nature learn to overcome or get round obstacles that are put in their way. That is why they do what they do. I believe they have many other more important issues that hold them back rather than red tape. Late payment by large organisations, lack of sensible lending by banks, the cost of hiring staff are but three common issues faced by all small businesses
So as a new front opens up in the war on red tape what do you consider are the three most important issues your business faces in 2014? Use the comment facility on this blog to list them and we will publish the top three concerns of SMEs.
And if you want practical help and advice from experienced business people contact us or call us on 0333 444 8522 for a no obligation discussion.