Tips for Business Start Ups: beware the business of business start up programmes

If there’s one good business to be in at the moment, it’s the business of business support, whether this be of the start up or growth variety.

Governments, local authorities and private sector investors across the world are all looking at their ailing manufacturing base and their imploding public sectors (which they’ve all contributed to incidentally) and rapidly coming to the conclusion that if anything is going to save their collective economic skins, it will be in the small, micro and nano business sector.

The SMEs, the verySMEs, the nanoSMEs and the atomicSMEs (such as the rag and bone man and the kids who clean your car windows at traffic lights) have been charged with rejuvenating our ailing economies and much resource has been allocated to bring about the catalytic changes needed to sustain a postmodern capatalist economy and its associated life styles of having a lay in on a Saturday morning after too much carousing on a Friday night.

And in order to effect those changes we all hanker after, a new model army of business advisors (including yours truly of course) has been gathered to direct our collective intellectual, emotional and financial resources at the hoardes of new businesses, old businesses, briefcase businesses, businesses that don’t exist and businesses that shouldn’t exist with the intention to start them up, grow them up and get them producing new products and services which will replace the car industry, the steel industry, the NHS and the welfare state as a whole.

All this is well and good and more often than not the new model army of business supporters is filled with good intentions, useful budgets and strategic nous so that authentic business support is effective and meaningful. But for you new business start ups out there, you need to be aware of the fifth columnists who have infiltrated this heady movement of well intentioned economic architects.

You should watch out for the advisors who are more concerned about ticking boxes and collecting outputs than making sense of your business outcomes; the agencies who will throw cheap loan money at you without a second glance at your daft financial projections; the enthusiasts who wax lyrical about boot-camps, water boarding and other military metaphors; and the growth accelerators who get more kicks out of your impossibly stretched stretch targets than they do out of their usual Friday night supply of illicit intoxicants.

Be afraid – be very afraid – if you’ve met an advisor, a mentor or a snake in wolf’s clothing who will get you to sign forms and write rubbish before depositing cash into your empty bank account and who will fill your head with helium so that you end up talking in high pitched squeaky voices about the economic powerhouse that your car window cleaning service will represent in the new modern economy in your village, city or country.

A massaged bank balance and personal ego will make you feel fine for about a week or so – but you’ll then wake up one Saturday morning with a far worse hangover than the one you were used to after a Friday night out on the town.

Author: drnicko

Awarded an MBE for services to arts-based businesses, I am passionate about generating inspiring, socially engaging, creative practice within educational contexts both nationally and internationally.

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