Mike Vickers' Blog

November 1, 2010

A way forward for micro businesses?

Filed under: Business Development — derryvickers @ 4:54 pm

Lesley Riddoch provided a good article to Monday 1 November’s Scotsman titled ‘Small wonder big business is so hated’ in which she expressed the view that executives in large corporations are grossly overpaid and that we in micro businesses are getting tarred with the same brush.  She defined micro to be no more than 10 people.  She suggested that executives’ salaries of large corporations look to be paid more on the number of their employees and less on their accomplishments.  Ha-Joon Chang in his book ’23 Things they don’t tell you about Capitalism’ considers executives are paid in line with shareholder value and that shareholder value has been driven up by raiding a corporation’s assets.

Either way.   

Executives are usually paid by their corporations, unlike us small business owners who do not get paid other than through doing good business with our clients.  For good business, our clients need to feel that they have got good value for their purchases or our services and we need to earn a reasonable fee.  Big businesses don’t appear to need to keep their clients happy or satisfied – in many cases they have little competition or their clients are so constrained that they are unable to go elsewhere.

Our  company, Vickers Projects,  is on the Public Contract distribution list and to me micro companies are at an inherent disadvantage – we are micro – we cannot easily provide glowing balance sheets for the last 3 years, we are unable to go for the larger jobs where Public Contracts generally exclude companies where the job size is > 25%  of the turnover, we don’t have the resources or the time to fill in pages of politically correct statements, know all the legal niceties and we are not all-encompassing.

It is now time for micro businesses to come together in partnerships to tender for such public contracts so that we can present a wider experience base and share the pain to get the rewards. 

No I don’t see us aiming to become large corporations by this means and I would certainly not want to, but at least we could become mighty micros!

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4 Comments »

  1. Mike

    It is precisely to assist in the development of micro-enterprises that the Nordic Enterprise Trust (NET) (based in Linlithgow) received a little seed funding from Innovation Norway for our ‘Hanseatic Microfinance Initiative’.

    We developed two new partnership-based tools, which are attracting a lot of interest, and in rspect of which we are working on and seeking prototypes:

    (a) Guarantee Society – which enables enterprises (particularly SMEs) to club together to spread procurement risk and also to provide an interesting form of mutual credit.

    (b) Capital Partnership – which enables new investment opportunities for short term development finance and long term funding/management of productive assets, particularly in land/buildings; energy assets and IP.

    See

    http://www.policyinnovations.org/ideas/innovations/data/000085

    also

    http://www.slideshare.net/ChrisJCook/link-alt-finance-19-11-09

    Chris Cook

    845124

    Comment by Chris Cook — November 8, 2010 @ 6:46 pm

    • Hi Chris
      Thanks very much for your comments.
      I like the approach you are proposing with the Nordic Enterprise Trust.
      It looks to have great applicability for the development of some of the Community Projects being considered under the auspices of the Linlithgow Town Management Group.
      One point I would feel needs still discussion is the fact that micro companies such as ourselves tendering for public contracts are unable to present sufficient gravitas alone. That’s why myself and a colleague, Gavin Tosh, of Clerwood Legal believe there is significant advantage in number of micro businesses coming together to jointly tender. In the past I formed a group composing an accountant, a marketeer, an HR professional and a business analyst in addition to myself as software application developer to tender for business development work.

      Comment by Mike Vickers — November 8, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  2. Funny I should read your blog about micro businesses at this time. A few days ago, I read Julie Poland’s blog titled “Here’s to the Small Business Owner”. Very briefly: To go from small to big is a quantum leap, and is virtually impossible.

    Here’s to Mighty Micros!

    Comment by Lynn Marie Caissie — March 6, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

  3. Micro business or companies are in a position to create a new kind of business model that I have been working on and talking about for several years now. Many of us have heard of Cloud Computing well I believe we can set up programs and Ideas based on this computing concept in the areas of Manufacturing and Business. Why can’t small companies or Micro companies get together and supply Cloud programs to customers and Large corporations? By combining multiple capabilities together a customer or large corporation can use the strengths of each of the companies in the Cloud to support their operations as they need them…. Cloud manufacturing and Cloud Support services would work in the same way as the computer Cloud function. It is a simple concept but the complexity is in the coordination of the members of the cloud…small companies combined together would have to give up some of the autonomy they are use to…so they can benefit the customers, and the members of the group that makes up the various parts of the cloud.

    I’ve simplified my idea but we can get into more details if anyone is interested.

    Comment by Douglas Story — March 20, 2011 @ 3:11 pm


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