Who Helps When Small Business Dreams Turn to Nightmares?

If you hadn’t noticed yet I’m a big fan of small businesses, the usually unsung engine room of most developed economies. Most governments are also big fans, placing an enormous amount of resource to stimulate a constant supply of new business start-ups

This week I came across a great blog which offered a very different perspective on the usually rose-tinted world of small business start-ups, entrepreneurship and the glory that being financially successful can bring.

Being involved with small businesses on a daily (and often nightly) basis I too was blissfully ignorant of an important yet AWOL business support component. Like most people we are all aware of the emphasis placed on new business start-up support as public sector agencies clamour to hit jobs or businesses created targets to satisfy the appetite for constant ‘healthy’ economic growth. We’re all also probably aware of small business failure clichés such as most failing within one year or only 10% surviving beyond three years. So what? Entrepreneurship is about taking risk isn’t it?

Now ask yourself this question; what support do the failing business get, or maybe, compare the resources allocated to business start-ups and business failures? I’ve been astonished to find how little support there is for failing businesses and in particular the very real people behind failed business statistics. I’ve only scratched the surface with my research but it does feel analagous to buying a something at a dodgy market stall. Great spiel and offers but don’t bother trying to return the goods when they break after 10 minutes. Sorry, we don’t do returns. Sold as seen. Buyer beware and all the other excuses, you get the picture.

My company is four years old and the first couple of those were an extreme rollercoaster series of personal and business related challenges that I only just survived emotionally. It’s only writing this post that made me realise just what I put myself and those around me through. I was lucky to have a fantastic support team of family, friends and professionals that deserve my eternal gratitude for believing in me and my vision.

Whether you’re a successful or a struggling business head over to Business Failures Anonymous, a Ning based support network established by those who have been churned up by the process of business failure wanting to help others avoid some of the pitfalls

Here’s a short yet vivid extract from ‘From Business Link to NHS Shrink’ on the BFA blog:

“When dwindling coffers become less than empty, entrepreneurs fall prey to rapacious insolvency practitioners and unscrupulous debt solution agents; faced with Kafkaesque nightmares of welfare benefit claims, CAB waiting rooms, – and, in the worst cases, calls to Samaritans, and the vagaries, waiting lists and delays of health service Liaison Psychiatry – all we have to rely on is ourselves (if we can avoid total despair) and our true family and friends.

We who end up saddled with debt, broken relationships, vulturesque offers etc., can, in our rational moments, put it down to naïve decisions as a risk-taker. However, we are not merely rational creatures, and we need balanced advice and support at the beginning, i.e. from both sides – including a ‘devil’s advocate’ with real-world experience of worst-case scenarios and the effect on things other than the infamous ‘bottom line’.”

Click here for the full article.

Is it fair to throw so much at those with hope and dreams to only deny responsibility when the nightmares arrive?

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