Thursday, October 30, 2008

Small business

Taken from comments in Milts blog below but deserves more space

I've worked in the universities, public service, state corporations, multinational corporations, professional firms, private enterprise and my own small business.They all have their place, stresses and challenges; and their satisfactions.

But I tell you, the toughest is the raw day to day struggle to survive in a small business, especially under Labour.At that stage of my life I learned to loath those who made regulations and laws that made my life a misery, and chopped and changed policies that made a joke of any notion of business planning.

Compared to all the securities and cosseting you have as an employee, as a small business owner you are at the bottom of the heap, unsupported and on your own. Yet these guys are the engines of the economy, and the source of our growth.As a country we have our priorities arse about face, and it shows in our economic performance.

Every public servant and politician should understand very clearly what I am saying. When I was a public servant I did not, and looking back there are many things I would have done differently if I had understood.

I will be voting for John Key because, if for no other reason, he has felt the heat, and is more likely to take decisions that respect rather than denigrate small business. I hope that is what will happen, and if it does we will all be much better off.

Well said

31 comments:

KiwiGirl said...

Yeah. Someone who understands. Small-businesses unite, and let's get some user-friendly policy through with a slightly more right wing government.

blade said...

My wife and I have had our same Family business for over 30 years we are 66 and 67 years old and are still both working 5-1/2 Days a week to keep going. Our loyal (4) remaining employees are our friends, and it is bloody near impossible to find anyone who wants to work or is worth the risk of employing because of these fucking draconian employment regulations about unfair dismissal when someone doesnt work out.So as our staff have moved on we stopped employing. Plus the constant rules and bloody levies are soul destroying.We have to get shot off these lying thieving Labour pricks,c*/ts and treehuggers who hate small business owners.

Anonymous said...

Milt is clearly a teat-sucking commie.

Psycho Milt said...

Why are the anonymous ones always thick?

For the most part I agree with you Lou. My friends who've started their own businesses have worked hours and suffered stresses I haven't ever had to put up with. The financial return to them was pretty good, but no financial return was ever guaranteed and having seen those startups I found I greatly preferred working regular hours for a paycheque.

That said: I don't rate Key my moral inferior for getting a job moving money from one place to another instead of doing something I personally would consider more useful, but nor will I accept anyone suggesting I'm Key's moral inferior for working in the public sector.

Cactus Kate said...

"don't rate Key my moral inferior for getting a job moving money from one place to another instead of doing something I personally would consider more useful",

Nice Milt. Only what Key did was what little New Zealnd businesses do all day - take a risk, buy low from a supplier, add value through marketing, repackaging and tooling and sell high to a buyer. Even the corner dairy man does precisely the same thing. Everyday.

Absolutely no difference between the skills involved in that if you see fx trading for what it is - selling of a product, and ANY other of the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who do likewise.

Perhaps you should attend one of those visiting "marketing for the public sector" seminars they put on for you while hundreds of thousands of NZers are out there doing what John Key did - trading in a free market with other likeminded souls.

LaFemme said...

It's our job as voters to overthrow the bastards who oppress us with onerous, foolish and punative compliance laws.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE! and all that.
But it also our responsibility as citizens to recognize the difference between the necessary and the needless and make damn certain our public officials get the message as to which is which...which means routinely throwing the bastards out when they won't listen and replace them with some who will, at least for awhile.
Sound like a plan?
See you at the polls!!!

Chopper said...

PM - you are definitely inferior, whether it's moral or not is debatable. anyone not willing to realise their own potential and happy to accept a taxpayer chq every week is inferior.

WAKE UP said...

There's no doubt that a complete cleanout of the bureacracy is what's required. It's now so politically compromised that it's a large part of the problem. Hope Key has the balls to do it.

Danyl said...

Only what Key did was what little New Zealnd businesses do all day - take a risk

Key didn't take any risk - his clients did. The most Key ever risked in his career is his end of year bonus.

And for all the moaning we hear about how Labour has made life impossible for small businesses, we do consistently top all of the international surveys as the best country in the world to do business; do you guys have ANY idea what small business owners in (for example) the US have to go through in regards to taxation, employee health insurance and litigation protection?

thedavincimode said...

... but wait, there's more. If you're really lucky you get to borrow for your business and secure the debt against your house, wife, kids & dog. In other words, you get to put it all on the line.

Then you can feel good about providing employment and helping The Leader and the author of "Satistical Movement in Victorian Britain or whatever" create our just and fair society. You can pay more, because you can AFFORD to pay more.

Feel better now?

thedavincimode said...
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thedavincimode said...

Danyl

The glib and superficial nature of your comments suggest that you have never run a business. You can cite surveys until the cows come home, but the reality at the coalface isn't to be benchmarked against regulatory regimes elsewhere. Are you suggesting that 'blade' (above) hasn't reacted to the regulatory environment in the way he described? Isn't this the point? The surveys you cite don't survey the 'blades' of this world.

NZ is a unique market. Its a rock at the end of the world. We have a relatively small population. Anyone who has the experience of operating in multiple jurisdictions will tell you that NZ is a hard market. That fact exacerbates the dead weight cost of our regulatory environment.

The most superficial aspect of your comment is the presumption that in heading whichever of the gazillion surveys that have been undertaken, NZ's regime is a good one. Any logical analysis would evaluate NZ in absolute terms.

The regime that we have is a product of people who have never had to go out and actually do anything. The architects have generally started in student politics, continued into academia and/or then headed straight into politics. Their advisers will generally have followed a similar course. They are individually and collectively incapable of having any empathy at all with the issues confronting NZ businesses of whatever scale.

the deity formerly known as nigel6888 said...

rubbish Danyl. Key risked his career, his future, and his ability to be employed further in his profession. He did this every trade, that business runs on reputation. The career life of a trader is invariably short. Try reading Talib (black swan)for how it works.

Milt of course is spinning and weaving to try and make up for yesterdays faux pas.

What I can't fathom is how he gets from admitting he is a public sector employee slacking around going to interesting talks to graciously admitting he doesnt feel (too) superior to john key, who after all only worked for a living.

Danyl said...
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Danyl said...

Try reading Talib (black swan)for how it works.

Have you even read 'Black Swan' nigel? I'm guessing not, because the entire book is an epic rant against the leveraged speculation that Key spent his entire career in. You might want to make sure you are even slightly familiar with a book before you start citing it to others.

Danyl said...
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Danyl said...

The glib and superficial nature of your comments suggest that you have never run a business. You can cite surveys until the cows come home . . .

Loosely translated: your facts and evidence are no match for my hysterical temper tantrum!

One quick correction - New Zealand is actually considered the second easiest country in the world to do business (after Singapore). Sorry about that.

And I'm sorry your suffering from the tyranny of university graduates who've cruised through academia before winding up in government; I'm sure that once Bill English (who graduated with a degree in literature and worked as a policy analyst before spending the last eighteen years as a politician) is Finance Minister your troubles will be a thing of the past.

Psycho Milt said...

Milt of course is spinning and weaving to try and make up for yesterdays faux pas.

For his part, Milt sees no inconsistency between his comment on this thread and his post that inspired the thread.

What I can't fathom is how he gets from admitting he is a public sector employee slacking around going to interesting talks...

I see value every now and then in meeting the people it's my job to support and hearing what they want from me. It was just as useful in the private sector as it is in my current job, but there nobody tried to spin it as "slacking round going to interesting talks."

...john key, who after all only worked for a living.

And yet again: your ideological determination that only people in the private sector actually work for a living is bigotry, not an objective assessment. As an opinion, it's of no more value than the opinion of bolsheviks who regard capitalists and intellectuals as parasites on the back of productive workers - ie, it's not merely wrong, it's insulting and stupid.

Anonymous said...

Having owned and run small business’s both here and overseas [US and UK], and worked in the public sector, I’d say Milt is right.

Also having run the same type of business here and overseas, I have very no little time for the whingers who constantly complain about the bureaucracy/red tape here. Quite frankly setting up a business here and running it a piece of cake and anyone who says otherwise is living in a dream world and probably incompetent.

BD

Anonymous said...

When you're on a salary, you're always someone elses bitch. Your master might pay you but you are still his slave. Climbing up the public service ladder just makes you a higher paid slave.

Some people seem to think this is success.

OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

If we sack some public sector workers then we can get bigger tax cuts.

The least a National/ACT government can do is implement a wage freeze. That should initiate the correct incentives for the wastrels that occupy the public sector.

Clunking Fist said...

"don't rate Key my moral inferior for getting a job moving money from one place to another instead of doing something I personally would consider more useful"

When your time in Kuwait was up, did you carry your accumulated $US back to NZ in a suitcase? How did local retailers react when you tried to pay in $US? Transfering money from one place to another is actually rather useful to tourists, exporters, importers etc.

"we do consistently top all of the international surveys as the best country in the world to do business" This just goes to show how it is REAL bad in some jurisdictions. However, in some of the bigger countries get away with black markets that we just can't due to our village lifestyle.

thedavincimode said...

Danyl

You continue to miss the point. And I don’t understand how you can interpret my comments as partisan. One of the best examples of this lack of empathy came from Ruth Richardson who dismissed complaints of excessive compliance costs during a recession as being merely “a cost of being in business”. And remember, that remark came well AFTER the Vietnam War.

I’m not suggesting that the surveys don’t rate NZ however they do relative to other jurisdictions. But you seem to deny the experience of the ‘blades’ of this world.

Fact. Survey number 19,245 or whatever puts NZ second to Singapore. Okey dokey. Fair enough.

Fact. Surveys are by their very nature generalist and published outcomes will reflect the questions asked, any inherent (and necessary) limitations on the scope of response, and the population surveyed. Yes, that’s a fact.

Fact. Notwithstanding their inherent limitations, surveys can provide a benchmark across different survey populations (in this case jurisdictions).

OK, so what? Does this mean surveys are entirely useless? No, it doesn’t but equally, nor does it mean that the results should be accepted as an absolute on their own terms and without further enquiry or analysis. Does survey number 19,245 or whatever mean that ‘blade’ didn’t decide to not expand or re-hire? Does it mean that no NZ businesses make critical decisions without considering regulatory impediments? Does it mean that all business are affected in the same way? Of course not. If blade’s business was very substantial so that he could afford to pay people to deal with the dead weight grief of being in business, would he feel the same? Well, he might still be pissed off, but he would be nowhere near as pissed off, and it wouldn’t have affected his business decisions.

If you were to take the big leap of faith, jump out of your comfort zone and seek to establish your own business on the moon, population of one by all accounts as you appear to live there, you might have the best regulatory environment in the galaxy but having regard to your particular circumstances it might nevertheless represent an impediment to your developing economy of one. You might struggle and it might not simply be because your are incompetent which would be the response of Anon (above) whom is by all accounts, a high flying global entrepreneur. It might have lot to do with the type of business that you want to establish. In contrast, a similar business established in the European Union by the very competent Anon the HFGE takes off. Apart of course from being smarter than everyone else, he has the advantage that notwithstanding the red tape, he has ready access to much stronger economies, skills, population, etc.

So there you are with no business activity to sustain you. You’re still waiting for your first batch of raw materials to get through Earth customs and the Minister of Mooncare (you I guess) to take some political soundings in order to validate a decision that has already been made by the Moon Environmental Agency (you also I guess). The Minister overrides the legitimate due process established by statute and bins your deal. You appeal the Minister’s decision. You win. Too late. You’re fucked. You ran out of money and the moon’s Official Assignee (that would be you) tosses you into debtors’ prison.

The good news is that you still have the best regulatory environment in the galaxy. The problem is that it might still only suit some businesses and not others. Supporting a viewpoint on the basis of these types of surveys is pointless. It isn't the success stories that count, its the failures. You can't extrapolate some success stories and a positive survey across an entire economy with the sorts of issues that NZ faces.

Danyl said...

But you seem to deny the experience of the ‘blades’ of this world.

I lost interest and stopped reading your comment shortly after this statement but I'll just point out that I'm a scientist so I tend to value statistically significant studies more than I value individual random anecdotes from anonymous people on the internet.

Danyl said...

Transfering money from one place to another is actually rather useful to tourists, exporters, importers etc.

You don't actually need currency speculators to transfer money; all you need is software developers and network engineers (who tend to use tools that were designed almost exclusively by those oh-so-useless universities and government departments).

thedavincimode said...

Well Danyl, that pretty well sums it up.

You've never been in business, but know more about it than those that are/have been.

You accept data at face value and without regard to quality. Interesting approach, but then why let the real world get in the way of an opinion.

The sneering dismissal just doesn't cut it in the circumstances.

You should go out more.

Danyl said...

Well Danyl, that pretty well sums it up.

You've never been in business, but know more about it than those that are/have been.


Well, I did spend four years at IBM and eight years working in merchant and investment banking, but yeah, other than that my ignorance of the private sector is overwhelming.

thedavincimode said...

Well that's just great Danyl. Well done you!!

Anyway, let's just come back to the point, being your out of hand dismissal of the "moaning" about the impact of the regulatory environment on small business, based upon some survey you read, possibly without even knowing what the questions were and most certainly without any first hand knowledge and experience of the issues in a NZ context.

It doesn't matter if you were the CEO of IBM or Mega Bank, or whether you trundled around with the tea trolley. What you loosely describe as "private sector knowledge" is quite meaningless in the context of the point.

I sense (and I'm reaching out here Danyl, believe me) that you're just feeling a bit undervalued. A bit sensitive that no one seems to value all your scientific boffining, or the intellectual rigour of your scientific methodology. As for the former, that's often the way of the world. As for the latter, well sorry old thing, you don't seem be demonstrating much here.

Sneering doesn't cut it and neither does the bluster. Nor does the gratuitous dumping on the blades of this world becaue of your own political outlook.

Like I said before, you should go out more.

Sus said...

Clark has grown govt exponentially during her tenure. Eg, there's now 3.5 health dept staff for every one 7 years ago, and nearly 5 education dept staff for every one 7 years ago.

In spite of this, the public hosp waiting lists are longer and there're more functionally illiterate school-leavers than ever before.

So rather than improve outcomes with all that public sector growth, they're worse than ever.

Bureaucracy cannot be "efficient" by definition. It needs to grow to justify its continued existence, thus the creation of make-work. And what better make-work than dreaming up more & more regulation for the very people on whom their salaries depend: the producers.

The world is divided into producers & consumers. Like it or not, the former feed the latter. That we have a govt that consumes approx half our wealth speaks volumes.

And that we have consumers who delight in creating red tape for producers speaks volumes, too.

I've made this point before: politicians & bureaucrats seem to have little or no respect for what it takes to earn the dollar they so gleefully help themselves to.

the deity formerly known as nigel6888 said...

sadly Danyl I have read the black swan, and its follow up. Yes the message is about the reef fish of the financial markets and how clever they think their systems are - but its also about how quickly they inevitably fail and get destroyed.

That was the point I was trying to make - every trade could be your last every day.

I like Talib's thesis incidentally, particularly the observation that despite all the "cleverness" the long-run return seems to be average.

But always glad to give you the opportunity to feel the warm glow of superiority, regardless of how ill deserved

Clunking Fist said...

"You don't actually need currency speculators to transfer money; all you need is software developers and network engineers"

Yep, and after they've built the perfect pricing model for the world's currencies, maybe they could built an automated surgeon. Then a robot teacher. And after that they could built software that predicts the weather, nay the entire climate. Actually, those software developers and network engineers should try and eliminate child poverty. Lord knows the sociologists and history teachers can't.