The start-up manifesto

By Mark Riley on June 27th, 2012

1. Stop treating us like five-year-olds. Anyone who has kept a start-up going for more than a year has a skill set to put most city dealers to shame. We are the HR, PR, IT and CRM departments in one person. We don’t need to be patronised, thanks.

2. The Inland Revenue should stop bullying us into co-operation through threats and fines. It would be nicer to be educated by HMRC than the current situation, in which our fingernails are pulled out for late filing.

3. Give us free passes to conferences. Less long winded “data-trapping” competitions, thanks.

4. Everyone who has set up a solvent, trading start-up, who has no criminal record and who is up to date on their taxes, should be allowed one year in their life, at their choosing, of zero income tax. This could be played, like a Joker, once. It would be a nice thank you from a grateful nation.

5. We can’t afford the fees for “morally repugnant aggressive tax avoidance”, nor would we want to. Use IR35 to go after the serial offenders (e.g. civil servants), but back off genuine, hard-working entrepreneurs.

6. Health and safety is important – to a point. We get it. But again, education trumps prosecution.

7. We are the backbone of hard working Britain. It would be nice if Westminster could find some backbone and get Brussels off our backs.

8. If big businesses really cared about small businesses they would sort out their payment terms. 60 days is laughable. Inconsiderate corporates should be named and shamed, because stigma normally works.

9. You can’t expect banks to rebuild their balance sheets and lend to start-ups at the same time. Hive off the High Street lenders from the reckless racketeering gamblers and let them do their job of lending to solvent enterprises, not insolvent Mediterranean countries.

10. If you want me to hire someone, allow me to fire someone.

11. Petrol prices fluctuate too much. How is it that British Airways can hedge against price changes but we can’t? Build in a price stabiliser or grant start-ups a fuel duty tax break.

12. Ultra-high speed internet please, to the furthest corners of the land.