As the Government calls for business to lead the country out of the economic difficulties we have faced over the past two or three years I am inclined to ask the question ‘can it do it on its own’? Whilst I am absolutely positive that business will give it its best shot I am becoming increasingly concerned that collectively British society needs to do more to help. I know it’s tough out there and, that for perfectly understandable reasons people are concerned about the future, but the truth is we all need to knuckle down and do our bit.
Over the years I have visited parts of the world where the local population would give their eye teeth to be able to enjoy some of the advantages we have. Anyone who has walked the back streets of a Chinese city or parts of Eastern Europe would be staggered at how people eke out a living without complaint and certainly without expectation that someone else will bail them out. Here our default position seems to be that someone else should find a solution for us.
Most business people, particularly those running small businesses, understand that if they are to succeed they will need to do so through their own drive and determination. I am yet to meet a successful business person that has factored in support from government as being key to their growth, nor have I met one that has folded at the first sign of adversity. The fact is that successful people get on with it and make things happen but they need support and encouragement the same as everyone else.
Several times in recent weeks I have heard people snipe at businesses. Whether it be the man in the street, a journalist or Trade Union leader, ‘they are only in it to make money’ seems to be a frequent refrain. It would be easy to respond that any business that does not make money will soon go out of existence and, perhaps more appositely, will not be able to create the jobs we all need to exist. More fundamentally, though, the remark totally misses the point that making money is a by-product and rarely the initial objective. It also fails to recognise that it is the business people who have backed their own judgment and taken the risk.
Of course the people who have supported them should be able to share in their success but at the end of the day it is people with entrepreneurial drive and eye for innovation and hard work who will make the difference. We need to get behind them.