We cannot compete on an international platform because:
1. Our pricing is out of kilter
2. We're too bureaucratic
Every time I want to hire a consultant for anything, British prices are always higher than American, Canadian and of course, Asian.
On top of that, there's this 20% VAT thing which completely makes a good price look stupid e.g. my email marketing company quoted me £600 and then I get a bill for £720 - wtf? Oh, it's VAT, sorry, we forgot to tell you about that. Like seriously, you didn't think that would be a significant thing to mention in all our discussions? Luckily, I hadn't signed the contract yet - but I did!
Businesses need to be willing to negotiate and they need to make decisions fast to compete on an international platform.
For instance, when I was selecting a developer for my app, Fat Creep, the British contender would say stuff like "I have a meeting with my partner on that this afternoon". I don't give a monkeys about your meetings, I need a decision now! The Asians would take things away and respond extremely fast.
At what level can Britain compete?
Primary industry i.e. agriculture etc, we don't have the land and the weather is not amenable to the growth of very much. We cannot compete well here.
Secondary industry i.e. manufacturing, America is a developed economy just like Britain but input prices are way lower - how do you explain that? People are able to start making a product so much more easily than you can here. Are the British just too darn greedy? Why can't they cut their pricing to match America?
Tertiary industry i.e. services - this is where we should be able to compete! However, I took a brief look at the many resources I now use as an entrepreneur related to technology and they are mostly American!! My email management tool (mailchimp), my webhost (weebly) and all the artists I have hired to do pictures for me.
My accountant had to be British but even what he said was a cheap price for his services made me feel a little screwed. I haggled, of course, because my name wouldn't be Heather if I didn't!
A successful business, even one with only a single full-time employee depends on so many other suppliers. Every business receipt represents a supplier, I want to use British but I'm sorry, right now they need to jack up - big time!
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.