It’s Hard

Downtown recently held a fantastic half day conference in association with the government’s flagship business support initiative Growth Accelerator.

The event was entitled ‘Limitless – developing a hyper-growth Mind-set’ and focussed on how successful business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the UK had ‘done it’.

Inevitably the contributions from the speakers were upbeat and positive, but almost to a person, every keynote speaker and panel member warned would-be growth ambitious businesses that taking your company forward is challenging, at times frustrating, and it’s hard!

Downtown has been evolving and growing, relatively steadily, for just over a decade now. On Monday we are moving offices, so that the team at our Liverpool HQ have a better working environment. It is also a facility that provides us with space and collateral to offer our members a more diverse range of events and business support services.

In 2015, you would think that an office move would be relatively simple. However, we have needed to find additional hours and resource from our existing team, and use some external help too, over a period of a few months, to make it happen. Telephones, internet services, the office fit out and new furniture are among a long list of things that were on the ‘to do’ list, and I can’t say I’m looking forward to the actual physical move next week. I’m sure though that the old adage ‘short term pain for long term gain’ applies here.

This is the latest ‘hard to do’ in my personal business growth journey and it would be nice to say that UK Plc, with its love of an enterprise culture and entrepreneurial spirit, has at least been there to help me through it.

Sadly not. There is no ‘one-stop-shop’ for a small business to seek guidance on who the best suppliers are when you’re moving office. There is no robot within HMRC who will accept that moving office to grow your business and secure, hopefully create, jobs, is deserving of some lee-way in terms of tax returns and VAT payments. There is certainly no business book, manual or course that can take you through the ‘office move’ project – or indeed many of the other issues you will face as an ambitious business owner.

This is why business support initiatives such as Growth Accelerator, and a few others that are genuinely private sector led, are so invaluable. It is also why public sector agencies, quasi-public sector organisations and failed middle managers should not be allowed anywhere near business support – but that is a rant for another day.

For now, I will get on with the latest ‘challenge’, and simply take on the chin the hefty fine imposed on me this week by HMRC for my VAT payment being a day late!