I think I should say right up front that I am not getting political here. I am not in any way going to give you clues as to how I would vote. So, if you think you can work that out, the chances are that you will be wrong. So, here I go, into shark infested waters.
On the radio this morning, just before I switched it off, yet again, I heard a business owner saying that anyone in business just now will be looking after their staff and that means increasing their pay. But that to adopt the same approach to public sector workers would just increase the governments finance black hole and so these workers must be treated differently. Another highlighted the staff shortages in the public sector and hence poor service delivery. Their words not mine! Another speaker said that what we lacked was any growth in the economy and that this problem had existed for years. Again, their words not mine!
I realise that the numbers must add up. We were reviewing our own management accounts at the weekend so we know they must add up in more than one sense.
There are fundamentals in any system. One is that the balance sheet must balance, even if the balancing figure is the bank overdraft. Another is that in any business, profit is key to the survival of that business. So, you need customers willing to pay you for value delivered. In the public sector, the customer is the government, and the source of funds is taxes.
If costs go up then prices must rise and that means that customers (and the government) and clients will feel the squeeze. But that’s what has to be for a business to survive. The alternative is to lock the doors as you leave and post the key back through the letter box.
There is a quote attributed to Henry Ford that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. Truss and Kwarteng tried to break that cycle. Hunt is taking us back to what we have had for the last decade. Am I correct in my observation? Would Truss and Kwarteng have worked? I don’t know but another businessman that I heard on the radio last week, backed their policies saying that they were like a “breath of fresh air” compared to the policies of the last decade. I pass these remarks on without comment.
So, what is the way forward? I know we live in a democracy and in theory can influence the direction of government policy but realistically, neither you nor I can do a thing about it. It is just the environment in which we must operate and keep our businesses going. Tough times will call for tough decisions.
Fundamentally, if you are in business, you have two choices. You could decide that there is no point in carrying on and lock the door as you leave and post the key back through the letterbox, or you can carry on. If you decide to carry on you could decide to batten down the hatches, take in sail and try to weather the impending storm. The alternative is to increase your marketing budget, get out there and fight for new business and go for growth. In that case you add more sail (selectively, intelligently of course) and hit the storm head on, steering your way through the worst it can throw at you while making tactical course corrections as circumstances dictate. Will that work? That is for you to decide. You are the master of your own ship. Hide (shelter) in port or take your chances on the high seas. It’s up to you. I know what we are doing!
Times are difficult enough at the moment, but they are likely to get worse before they get better. We are all going to feel the stresses and strains, but one thing is for certain. If we are all going to get through this time, you cannot collapse in an emotional heap on the floor. There is no choice. Keep a clear head, speak to us if you need someone to talk to, but at the end of the day, keep calm and carry on, or as I saw on a mug in our office recently – Had ya wisht and get aen wae hid.
So, more canvas, hold on tight, it’s blowing a hoolie out there and it’s going to get rough!
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership