When did risk become a four letter word?

We’re constantly hearing how a big government, with all its thousands of employees, is looking to the private sector for inspiration and salvation. The common theme we keep hearing is how the private sector will bring the public sector out of doldrums. Look at the birth of StartUp Britain, a fantastic new initiative and a direct response from the private sector to the Government’s call for an ‘enterprise-led’ recovery.  And this isn’t just in the UK, the Obama administration is also a big fan of cheering on the entrepreneur. If you build it, they will come. C’mon c’mon, you can do it! You will do it! You HAVE to do it!

New businesses will lead the recovery, just as they have done in the past. Stop, rewind, play, repeat. And in the next downturn, second verse, same as the first.

If the government truly believes that ‘Made in Britain’, ‘Created in Britain’, Designed in Britain’ and ‘Invented in Britain’ will propel our nation forward, and if the Government believes that relying on SMEs and entrepreneurial businesses will provide jobs and growth – shouldn’t they do more to support would-be entrepreneurs and fledgling businesses? Don’t we all need to take a vacation from the health and safety mindsets?

We have become a society that is too often risk-averse. Almost every day the Daily Mail and other publications take delight in publicizing the latest health and safety court case. Not only does health and safety create red tape that makes running a business difficult, it also encourages a mind set of being more conservative (and there for risk averse). And the hope and dream of the start up is what makes the risk worth taking.

Let’s take a breath and remember the basics. There are lots of great ideas out there but only few become great and profitable businesses. Risk is part of the game. Government needs to allow for some risks. Because when it works, when the small idea becomes the next big thing, the sky really can be the limit for massive success. Only this time around, we need more than a few big things to pull us out.

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