Dumbing down small business

I get annoyed when I hear governments, industry associations and suppliers to small business talk about compliance, accreditation and anything else which pursues a common benchmark. Too often these come with a cost at what I would call the higher end of the market.

In one channel in which my software company serves an accreditation process has been introduced in an effort to lift the standards of the small business members. To achieve accreditation one needs to attend a two day course which costs a few hundred dollars. While I applaud the process, it is disappointing that there is no mechanism for those already well ahead of achievement to be ‘granted’ accreditation.

It is as if the process is more important than the business outcome. I know of at least fifty businesses in this particular which perform way beyond the accreditation standards yet for them to get the tick they need to take two days out of their businesses and pay the fee – to learn about benchmarks and processes they passed some time back.

Why does this matter? Well, only accredited businesses get the best discounts. So, these stellar performers, leaders in their field, have to spend time and money looking back before they can get a discount off stock which lesser businesses get for achieving less.

This doesn’t make sense to me. For this benefit linked accreditation to work, stellar performance needs to be recognised with a credit process. It works in tertiary education so why not in the small business area.

I could be smart and suggest that the top performing operators run their businesses according to what they learn in accreditation training – no, they won’t do that because to do so would slow their growth.

The principle of accreditation for small business is smart. It’s the execution I see all too often which is dumb.

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