Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Big Business

I've been to London today for a slap-up Christmas lunch with a couple of colleagues and a couple of clients. I didn't pay! Three courses, plenty of wine followed by coffee and best cognac, I managed to take the opportunity afterwards to visit family. It was one of those wonderful feel-good days when I'm dressed the part, swanning about with the hoi-polloi of the City, but not having to be terribly serious. And just a tad tipsy.

Both clients and colleagues thank me for my work over the year and one asks if I can continue in the next year, please. Days like this I feel quite smug about my self-employed existence. Being able to work for who I want, being treated with respect and thanks. Yup, smug is how it feels.

The other client was the managing director of a small to medium sized company but in their world being a multi-million pound company is not enough so they have sold themselves to a larger company and are to be absorbed. At this stage my services are no longer needed by them, but who knows. (I really don't mind as I had the contract for much longer than originally expected.)

I was going to criticise the bigger businesses for eating up the smaller businesses such as my client's but since meeting today and getting a bit more of the inside info my views have changed. But not that much. It seems that even my client had absorbed smaller businesses and now they too have had to put their heads on the block. Sure there is money to be made from the deal and it seems a viable way forward but in my mind, there is something liberating about not being tied to a conglomerate/company/employer. There is something scary about the constant driving forward of business because it doesn't have to be like that. Business doesn't have to be cut throat, not if it stays small. Sure, there are businesses like my client's that become untenable unless they are part of something bigger, but it sad that it comes to that.

Original Comments:

Writer Mom said...
Here here.
I mean.
Well, I am self-employed, but I don't get paid. I do enjoy making my own hours, and I know every second I put into the day is for the benefit of the happiness of my family.
What's your business? You're so fabulous. I need whatever you do, I'm sure of it.
Sorry...don't know how you Brits feel about Bridget Jones, but I had a real BJ moment when you were talking about your day in London. Could see you as Renee Zellweger (I am not spell checking that!) walking across that bridge...the soundtrack kicked in. You're not smug. You're fantastic.
Thursday, December 22, 2005 3:14:00 AM
Astryngia said...
The thing about businesses is that they have to keep reinventing themselves one way or another to stay alive. To remain independent and working for self, the founder/entrepreneur has to decide from the beginning what their 'exit strategy' will be so they can sell the business and continuing creating ideas, wealth, employment...etc. Sounds as tho' that's the step your client missed out - but perhaps they're happy no longer having the worry of staying afloat financially and keeping a roof over their head! They've become employees again!!!

Love writer mom's comment. :-)
Thursday, December 22, 2005 11:58:00 PM
dog1net said...
I've often wondered about this. It seems that there is an element of greed involved, and so the objective of any business these days is not to make a decent profit, but to make an enormous killing. If that means swallowing up smaller companies in order to compete with even bigger companies, then so be it. Loved your description of walking about in London. Merry Christmas,
Friday, December 23, 2005 9:08:00 PM

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