Seconds out

It’s not about the money, money, money…

Well actually, it is. Profit margin matters. Make no mistake, bringing in the moolah is right up there on my personal and professional priority list.

As I never tire of telling anyone who’s seriously thinking about joining the small business circus, you gotta be in it for love and money. You simply can’t run your own enterprise on the basis of heartfelt passion and belief alone. Not if you want to eat, anyway. It took me a while to find the courage to talk cash to clients, but these days I feel just fine about setting out my financial stall. After all, wordsmithery cannot come for free. I’ve got a mortgage to pay, mouths to feed, and a not unreasonable desire to fund the occasional foray to The Grove Bar. I want, and expect, to be rewarded well for my skills, and for the experience I bring to the party. So aye, the income column matters, it really does.

But what I give back matters too. And I’m not just talking pounds and pence. However, and for the record, this wee wordsmith is more than happy to make fiscal contributions which are fair and above board. As a pillar of the Scottish small business community (actually, dunno about “pillar”, provocative wee pain in the arse, maybe…), making my financial contribution towards the country’s economic well-being also really matters to me, and I’d never dream of dodging my duty. Tax evasion and commercial crookery simply don’t play any part in my own self employment income strategy.

I realise this above-boardedness and lack of willingness to screw the system every which way probably makes me quaintly old-fashioned. No doubt, in some entrepreneurial eyes, I’ll be seen as a downright fiscal failure because I don’t exploit all possible ways, means and loopholes to ramp up my profit margin. But bugger it, I believe in paying my dues. Okay, so that contribution to HMRC’s coffers is pretty pathetic – my gross income doesn’t exactly place me in the multi-million turnover category of corporate wheeler dealership – I’m small fry by any entrepreneurial standards. But the net worth of my commercial contribution is worth way more to Scotland than just filthy lucre.

What I contribute to the country’s bank balance can’t be measured in pounds and pence. In fact, I’m not sure there is any rigorous evaluative and analytical measurement methodology for the kind of non-monetary value I add. But I do know, from the very evidence I see before me every single week, that as a small business, and a passionate advocate of people, I’m punching way, way above my weight. But not necessarily fiscally. What I do add is immeasurable value to our social and cultural economy, and that’s because I add confidence.

The way I see it, confident people are the very lifeblood of a thriving economy. Okay, confidence alone can’t be counted on to make a dent in the deficit, or to boost Scotland’s economic growth forecast, but without a confident population we simply cannot grow, flourish and have thriving fiscal health. We certainly can’t shorten the dole queues. Let’s face it, here in Scotland, we need more confidence, more willingness to have a go, to shrug off our shackles of self-doubt and crippling lack of self-belief. So by nurturing, training and encouraging the good citizens of Scotland to feel more positive and more confident about themselves and what they can achieve, I know that I’m making a big, big contribution.

See, I might be wee, but I punch hard.