So, this morning I am writing this from the departure lounge at Manchester Airport where I am waiting for a flight to Heathrow. I am going down to a conference where I will be training people who want to be better at public speaking. And as I am sitting here I wonder – how many of these people are going on holiday, how many are travelling on business for someone else – making someone else’s business a success. And how many of them are like you – small business owners – heroes.
I know. You don’t feel like a hero. You don’t wear lycra, have a cape or a bat cave. But you ARE a hero you know.
Where does the money come from in the economy? Does it come from people buying stuff? Well sort of. But actually – when you buy something, the money goes to the business you buy it from right? So, the money actually comes from TAX. The tax you pay on goods (VAT) goes to the government. The money a company make is TAXED and that goes to the government. And when you are employed you pay TAX and NI – which goes to the government and your employer also pays NI for the privilege of employing you.
Yes – I know you know all of that, but bear with me.
So clearly – the most tax comes from big business as they make the most money, right? Well – perhaps, but 99% of the businesses in the UK are SME’s (small or medium enterprises) and that means YOU. And even if it were true that the big businesses pay the most tax, how does a big business start? It starts by being a small business and growing – am I right, yes or no?
And who employs all the people who pay the tax – businesses. Yes, I know the government employs a lot of people but that’s just recycling money – they don’t create any wealth, just take it from the rest of us. And who employs the people who pay the tax ? You do! You and every other business that employs staff. You create the wealth.
So, as a small business person in the world today, you are probably THE most important person. Apart from Mothers. And if you are a Mother as well – then you really are a super hero.
As a small business owner, you take all the risk. You put hard hard work and long long hours into getting your baby business off the ground. Why do you do it? Because you have a dream. You have a passion. You want to make a difference in the world. You want to build something great. You want to leave a legacy.
And, as a result of that desire to make a difference – you have been prepared to go the extra mile, again and again. You have been prepared to put yourself in debt. You have been prepared to make sacrifices, to miss out on holidays or other important times with the family. You have built a business which creates wealth for the government before it ever creates wealth for you. You scrape by on what little you are able to and invest everything else back into the business – so that you can employ someone and create more wealth for the government. (Don’t even get me started on employers NI. A stealth tax for which you, as an employer get absolutely F*** ALL in return).
And you keep going, even when people around you think you are nuts because you know what you do is important and you are building something for the future.
As I said – you are a hero. Quite probably an unsung hero. Unrecognised by most. I salute you. Seriously.
But sometimes, is there a little voice – a voice which says ‘What the heck are you doing? You didn’t start a business so you could work harder and earn less? When is it your time?’
Because sometimes it is lonely running a business isn’t it? How do you KNOW you are making all the right decisions? Might there be other ways of doing things that are more efficient, less costly? Do you sometimes, secretly, feel slightly nostalgic for the days when you had a boss and didn’t have to make every single blooming decision?
Well – you don’t have to do it alone.
The way I managed the ‘loneliness’ of being a solopreneur when I started my first business back in 2001, was by going networking. I would go to the opening of a door. And that’s how I built that business in 5 years to a 12 person, 6 figure turnover business. Networking is all about relationships. If you go networking to win business, you will be disappointed, I am sure you know that. People buy from people they know like and trust.
And the point of networking is to make relationships. 16 years later and 13 of that as a Director of Greater Manchester Chamber and I know a lot of people. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than meeting someone new at an event and being able to introduce them to someone who can help them with their business. Which is actually Rule #001 of networking – give before you get.
In case you have missed it over the last 12 months or so – I run a network – for women in business in Manchester and the next one is on the 29th March – yes next Wednesday. Our event sponsor for this month is Tapeo and Wine on Deansgate – and we are looking forward to visiting this new venue. If you want to find out more about the events go here to www.leadingwomeninbiz.com and if you want to book straight on then get your ticket here.
And in May we are launching our Super Hero Group, which is a mastermind group for small business superheroines. If you have ever wished you had someone to help with the big decisions, or the small daily challenges, someone to be a sounding board for new ideas or a PROVIDER of new ideas, or just someone to vent to – well that’s our Leading Women in Business, Small Business Super Hero’s Group.
If you have been to one of the networking events you will already have experienced the support in the group. In the mastermind we will take apart your business issues and put them back together to help you finally achieve the business you are meant to be running.
Look out for more details in the coming weeks. Admission to our pilot group is by invitation only, and since we only want people in the group who are looking to grow their business, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in knowing more about the group.
Meanwhile – whatever you are doing this week – do it with the certain knowledge that you are already a hero. What you are doing is important. Keep going.