Amit Bhatia is chairman, Hope Construction Materials, & vice chairman, Queens Park Rangers F.C.
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My key idea: Authorities across public and private sectors must do all they can to remove the barriers that exist when setting up and running businesses. Only by removing bureaucracy and the fear of failure will we foster growth and enterprise. The time has come to stop championing those who do ‘nothing wrong’, and instead celebrate those who question accepted norms and in doing so improve their company and sector.
Enterprise is what makes Britain great. It’s what drives our economy, creates jobs and sees new approaches disrupt stale, traditional industries. It’s something we should be proud of as a country – and something we should lavish our attentions on in the future.
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had the opportunity to work in many different countries around the world. And I’ve found that one of the main differences between the UK and other locations, particularly the likes of the US, is how we view our entrepreneurs and how they view themselves. Here in the UK there is a comfortable culture of minimum risk and playing it safe, where failure is a dirty word and something to be avoided. This needs to change. Failing is, of course, a horrible feeling and should be used to channel the drive and endeavour required to go one better and make your enterprise a success. Because that’s the crux of it.
Until we move away from a ‘don’t try, can’t fail’ approach towards a ‘have a go’ attitude, we’ll never make the most of our economic potential. We should be celebrating those trying something new; the disruptors, the innovators, those who are sick of the norm and will do all they can to challenge it for the better. Instead of championing those who do ‘nothing wrong’ we should be celebrating those who question accepted norms and in doing so improve their company or sector.
We live in a world where our time is increasingly at a premium, where the path of least resistance is often the one most followed. While I don’t accept this is the right way to go about things, I recognise that for many it’s a reality of modern working life. With this in mind, I believe that authorities – in both public and private sectors – should do all they can to remove the barriers that exist when setting up and running businesses. Seemingly endless red tape can make becoming a true entrepreneur or business owner such a drawn-out and laborious process that many give up at one hurdle or another.
Yes, it is important to do things properly, to manage risks and to ensure your business is on a stable footing, but we need to find out ways to minimise bureaucracy to welcome true entrepreneurs with open arms. This is why I am a firm believer in giving people who want to do their absolute best the right support. With the right kind of drive from the entrepreneurs out there – and removal of the failure stigma – I believe many more people will flourish, either in their existing companies or as entrepreneurs of their own businesses. I am a believer in ‘backing the jockey, not the horse’. I encourage those with the financial might to invest and lend, to apply this principle. This will give people with potential a fair chance to prove their initiatives can work
Long-term it is those who seek to challenge, change and improve who will ultimately move businesses forward in Britain. I would welcome any measures which make it as easy as possible to take a calculated risk, launch a business proposal and see what you can make of it.
This is an excerpt from LondonLovesBusiness.com’s Securing Britain’s Ambition – read the full publication online now