Friday, October 23, 2009

Small Business Leads Us Back To Prosperity

Analysts report that both Canada and United States will likely reach 10% unemployment rates. These figures are not often seen in recent memory. Both countries always have pockets with high unemployment rates due to a troubled industry. But these are national statistics.

Many employers have asked employees to take a pay cut. Every day we meet candidates who tell us that they are willing to take lower paying positions just to get back to work. When the economy picks up again I suspect many people will leave positions in which they feel underemployed in or underpaid. The million dollar question is when this shift occur?

Many people are working from home after being laid off. Some of these people are making substantially less money than they were when they were employed outside the home. This trend can skew employment statistics. Although these people are employed they may be earning half the salary or less than they did in the past. As a society we need to create more high quality long term jobs to support our families and children in the future.

Governments and provinces need to have a vision and a long term plan. What is going to happen when infrastructure money dries up? Will Ontario’s green jobs programs really create jobs?

We need to take risks. Some risks will work and some will not. Venture capitalists expect only a percentage of their projects to work out. The government needs to create a small business venture capitalist group (not the Business Development Bank). This should be headed by entrepreneurs with real experience and knowledge of what it takes to run a business: SME’s. Together small businesses will create more jobs more quickly than most of the Fortune 500 companies. We still need the big companies to create jobs. But we see that the more agile medium sized companies are doing most of the hiring right now. The larger companies have so many checks and balances in place it is difficult for them to move forward. Big businesses often need to have eight signatures on a single request for a new employee which can take months.

I believe we need to set up “braintrust” groups to offer free advice to new entrepreneurs from successful entrepreneurs. This should be funded by the federal government. Presently the governments are trying to buy our way out of the recession by paying for infrastructure (which is good), but why not put some of that money into helping grow the small and medium sized businesses that are creating jobs now?

We will all benefit by funding small and medium sized businesses in the same way that we support big business.

No comments:

Post a Comment