Your country needs you
As I’m sure you will be aware, even though war didn’t break out until August, this year is the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, in which General Haig recruited people by pointing his finger out of the poster and asking “you” to join him on the battlefields of Flanders.
I’m making a similar request, only this time you won’t have to don khaki or live in mud for months on end. The war I’d like you to join is one for recognition, recognition of SMEs as the backbone of wealth in our society. For, without us, wealth would eventually dissipate, just as freedom might have done if we had lost the physical war. Companies become large corporations, which eventually wither and die and they need to be replaced. That’s what we do.
I’d like to think that leaders of SMEs are not as stupid as the Lieutenants and Captains of WW1, who were first out of the trenches and wore distinctive caps and trousers which made it easy for them to be spotted and shot. Not quite so stupid. But we are the first out of the trenches, with our new ideas and the courage to turn them into reality, in face of opposition insisting that it will never work.
Maybe if those officers had banded together and explained their position to the generals, they could have got some innovations that would have improved their lot: how about making their uniform, er, uniform, so that they were not so easily spotted?
So how about banding together and joining our SME Cashflow Index so that Field Marshall Cameron, General Osborne and Brigadier Cable will really recognise our contribution and what we need for it to be better? The message, from the 100 members who have contributed so far is pretty clear – we continue to make profit but customers, especially Behemoth plc., continue to take longer and longer to pay us, and finance is still scarce.
But the sample is too small, like a rogue platoon gallivanting forth ahead of everybody else. If 200 companies said the same thing (anonymously, here) then we would look like a regiment, and start to be representative of Growth Britain; and if 2,000 companies submitted just four figures monthly (profit, working capital movement, funds raised or re-paid and change in cash) then we would be an army. And then we could back up requests for change with facts.
The Cashflow Index supports my request, which I blogged last month – I’d like to see better financial products, especially for exports and intangibles, which would free us up to create more wealth (on which we pay tax, unlike Google et al).
If you’d like to get more recognition for SMEs, and have their needs better served, so that we can all be better off, then please submit your figures to our Cashflow Index and also, if you can, contribute to Growth Britain’s survey. Duncan Cheatle, who heads up Growth Britain, will then be well armed when he meets Lord Young later this month and sets out what SMEs need.
I hope you can find the time, as the bullets from customers, staff and all quarters whizz around your head, to respond to my whistle. After all, with “Captain” Cheatle and myself in the vanguard, both chartered accountants, you can at least be sure that the Sommes add up.
Your country needs you