The Prime Minister has appointed 23 top executives to give “high level advice”. The only thing which I have noticed is that nobody is really qualified to give high level advice regarding SMEs and small businesses. The majority of the group are executives of big multinational and quoted companies. I have every confidence that the members of the group are experienced and successful business people. However, I question their experience in dealing with small business people and local entrepreneurs. This market sector requires different skill sets – small businesses simply work differently to big businesses.
We need to have advisors who understand the make up of small business people and entrepreneurs; we all find the stories about Steve Jobs starting in his garage, Richard Branson starting from a public phone booth or Alan Sugar selling from the boot of his car endearing and stimulating. The common denominator for those successful self-made business people is: there were no endless meetings with professional advisors, board meetings with minutes taken etc. But they had focus, they have drive – in fact one can say there is a little bit of madness which fuels them to chase their dream. In short there is a different DNA. It is important that they have a constant understanding and a constant relationship with small businesses which furthers and develops their understanding.
An amusing aspect of the Business Advisory Group is that one in four members also uses a tax avoidance scheme. For example three run businesses from offshore territory and so on. Small businesses unfortunately cannot afford such schemes.