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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

WHY ANTI-BIG BUSINESS?

BRYCE ON BUSINESS

- Is it a crime to be successful?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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In the 40+ years of our company's existence, we have been afforded some rather interesting perspectives on business. As a small business we have been able to nimbly change direction on a dime, but as a management consulting firm we have serviced Big Businesses of just about every size and shape, not to mention the geographical nuances of the company. During this time, we have observed various management styles, corporate cultures, and the moral values of both management and employees. I have seen both the good as well as the bad. All companies, whether they are large or small, have their positives as well as their negatives. Fortunately, I have seen more good than bad. With this in mind, I am somewhat bewildered why some people consider Big Business as inherently evil, that by their sheer nature they are corrupt.

To me, business is what made America great. It is the economic engine which fueled our economy, and by doing so it has afforded us a high standard of living, the envy of many other countries. Then we hit a deep economic pot hole a few years ago, which slowed us down and changed our perspective on things like employment, entitlements, and debt. Suddenly, Big Business was cast as the bad guy who held too much control over our government and was insensitive to the needs of the American people.

It is true, the banking and mortgage industries made bad decisions, as did manufacturing, but the government decided to bail them out as opposed to let them fold. It is also true, many big businesses outsourced parts of their operations overseas. We must remember though, you outsource when you can no longer find the talent you want at a competitive price. It also has tax benefits. As our standard of living escalated, companies found it more economical to outsource certain types of jobs. Now, as our standard of living has dropped, many such jobs are returning home, that is, of course, assuming the government doesn't tax them to death.

Aside from this, Big Business performs a vital function to our economy by bringing the cost of goods down by volume, by employing people, and investing in research and development. Small business may represent innovators who can move rather fast, but Big Business moves the country forward due to its sheer size. I tend to think of it as a lumbering giant who leans forward and let's its legs catch up with it. Now and then, it stumbles due to its immensity, such as what we experienced these last few years.

However, I still do not understand why Big Business is being stereotyped as evil. Since when did it become a crime to be successful? I thought that was what the American dream was all about; to risk, to explore, to conquer. It's interesting, in this country we celebrate entertainment more than business, yet entertainment has itself become Big Business. Hollywood companies, and High-Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft are generally regarded as good guys, yet they are essentially no different than other companies trying to dominate their fields, such as energy production, insurance, pharmaceuticals and housing development. This sounds like a double-standard to me. Maybe it's because people understand entertainment better than general business.

The real reason behind the growing distrust of Big Business is because it is viewed as an impediment to a socialist agenda; Big Business is being depicted as too big for its own good and cannot be trusted to do what is right and, further, it should be controlled by government. As a confirmed capitalist, I find this rather amusing as our federal government itself has grown to mammoth proportions and can no longer be trusted to function properly. As should be obvious, we only have ourselves to blame. If we do not like the lobbying efforts of companies over our government, our tax structure, or corporate financial incentives, change it. It can be done with some determined effort and an informed public, but maybe that's asking too much.

As for me, I prefer the environment of a small business. It may not have the seeming security of a Big Business, and risks are great, but as I said, I like being able to change direction on a dime, and have money to spare.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:   timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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