Times are hard at the moment; we all know that. And we are constantly told that the key to getting out of the financial mess is by encouraging and supporting our small businesses.
These Ma-and-Pa businesses are run by individuals who are working every hour they can, determined to make a success of their toils. All their hard work and commitment results in growth and profit that’s spent in the local area, and leads to employing more workers. It’s their effort that will lift us out of the financial pit.
So, with that in mind, let me share with you an example of the problems facing just one small West Lothian firm.
Imagine David and Goliath, where David is a small business-owner, and Goliath is a major corporation with a local branch, but with interests around the globe.
Goliath came to David in a panic. There was something they needed that he could supply. A small job, but critical to Goliath. They needed it to be right, and they needed it in a hurry. David provided what they needed, and he provided it on time at a fair price.
But months later, David is still waiting for Goliath to pay him. He’s sent invoices, emails and letters. He’s made numerous phone calls, and even turned up in person. It’s only a paltry sum – nothing to Goliath. But to David, it represents just one payment of many he needs to keep his business growing.
The cash amount is less than a taxi trip for one of the Goliath directors; they could surely pay it out of petty cash.
But, no. Instead, David has been given the runaround by the big boy. They told him that they don’t actually deal with the invoices and payments here, in West Lothian. Being a multi-national conglomerate, they supply paperwork he has to fill out to apply for payment. His application is then dealt with by a department in Mexico. If he wants his money he has to jump through hoops, and then phone the folks in Latin America. Does that seem fair to you?
And remember, this is just one example of the sort of thing that is happening to small businesses throughout West Lothian. By making things as difficult and as convoluted as possible, this particular local Goliath is draining the very lifeblood from our West Lothian community.
That means they are also thwarting the effort of all those in West Lothian who are trying to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.
Shame on Goliath.