Opinion

By Catherine,

Why your business structure is like a wireless radio

You’re a business owner. You run your own business. You have a team of people that work with you. You all have smart phones and laptops, you have a superfast internet connection. You shop online, you use GPS regularly, you Skype with colleagues and friends in far flung parts of the world, you interact with your customers via Facebook, and you have the ability to know what’s going on everywhere in the world by simply tapping into your social media networks.

So why then is your business structure older than the invention of the bicycle and the wireless radio and about as relevant as both of these things are to the efficiency of your business?

The period known as the second industrial revolution or the ‘technological revolution’, from around 1860 to the beginning of World War I, saw the invention of some amazing and game-changing things such as mass production and the internal combustion engine. Telegraphy and radio, the bicycle and the Model T Ford were all conceived during this wonderfully progressive time. As a nation, we look back at our inventiveness and our industriousness with pride. Danny Boyles’ depiction of this period in the opening ceremony of the Olympics warmed many a heart and awakened a dozing national spirit and sense of self-respect. But as undoubtedly as magnificent and revolutionary as this time was, it was over 150 years ago and a lot has happened since then.

Everything is moving on at such an amazing pace – except your business model

We are living, learning, inventing and creating during the next massively significant evolutionary time. We are slap bang in the middle of the information revolution and we have all totally embraced the new knowledge economy. Information is free, connectivity is almost free and on-line collaboration and teamwork are replacing the ‘institutions’ of yesteryear. That old-fashioned ‘master and slave’ mentality no longer functions or even exists and clock cards and timesheets are about as relevant as a pop-up Savile Row tailors kiosk in the middle of a Google campus.

Industrialist

Why then do we all have business structures that resemble those of the factory owners from the 1860’s? Do we all come to work dressed in our wigs and stockings, cracking a whip at everyone on the assembly line and then disappear into our grand office with a formidable slam of the door? Surely not?

Well we know that none of our clients behave in such a way.

Your business structure is about as useful as a having a car that has its brakes locked on

Times have changed. There is no longer a clear concept of ‘work’ or being an ‘employee’. The best businesses and the most successful businesses thrive on teamwork, mutual respect, a shared vision and a shared sense of responsibility. We hear the stories and witness the successes of these businesses every day. Hopefully our own businesses resemble this model to a more or less a degree. Sadly though, the more we strive to create businesses that suit the modern working environment, the more our business structures will be holding us back.

Most modern businesses are still structured in a way that ‘the system’ supposes they behave, based on the tax system written 100 years ago. And even though we know that this is not true anymore, the system is sadly way behind the reality. The system gives no thought to shared ownership or shared risk or the knowledge and intellectual property that sits in everyone’s heads. So is there currently no way to account for any or all of these factors or build a strong and stable business around them?

The truth is the tools to build a better structure do exist, they are just not obvious to everyone or easy to access without digging deep into the guts of the overly complex tax system or without using expensive professionals to dig for you.

Where are we going with all of this rhetoric?

Did we just want to remind everyone how difficult it is to run and grow a business in the current climate? No, we’re not that miserable or cynical! We just wanted to open peoples’ minds to the idea that there is a better way of doing things and that we are on a mission to make that better way available to as many businesses as we possibly can.

We have dug into the guts of the tax system and have developed some tools and templates to help make life a bit easier for our clients and partners. We are constantly evolving and finding ways to support knowledge based businesses and prove that optimal compliance is both achievable and affordable.

Our plan is to find a way to help all people in knowledge based pursuits modernise and strengthen their businesses to bring things in line with what’s really going on in the 21st century. We want to get the system to acknowledge the reality and actually support the growth of the businesses that fuel the economy and not continue to make them fit some outmoded, constructed prehistoric industry model from the days when we still had child labour and slavery.

Follow our progress – read our blog, follow us @OCthinking

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