Every institution needs to be self-sufficient, else it will require external life support. In cases where external support is not available in time – the institution invariably faces closure. In recent times we have seen so many for-profit firms in the United States and around the world being given life support by the governments. Why was it done? It was primarily done to reduce the social impact of a possible fall out of their closure. Why only for the big firms and not the thousands of small firms? Because the impact of thousands losing jobs in a society is much higher than a few. From a government stand point, though there should not be a difference – the priorities are clear. Larger good is always to be taken care of first. So when it comes to life support for larger companies, the government and at times the business ecosystem itself gears into a crisis saving action. What choice do smaller organizations have?
There are two choices. They can make noise, knock for help, lobby and wait as other rightful priorities get addressed. Or understand that when they are small, they need to operate with heightened responsibility – as external help may not be too forthcoming. When an organization however small closes, it has an immediate impact in the social and economic context of its employees, suppliers and customers. It is best that leaders of the small businesses realise this, put efforts in running a sustainable outfit from day one, be sensitive to early warning indicators, become agile to respond, be fearless to experiment – but be courageous and practical to accept harsh realities and work guided by that realization.
Simply waiting for external help or miracle to happen cannot be a bailing strategy for any company – especially the smaller ones. When we understand, that it is these millions of smaller companies, that make the majority of the socio-economic fabric of our country, the collective social responsibility of these firms become highlighted. Heads of small business units need to understand that they have a wider role to play than running their set-up for immediate profits. Sustainability of operations should be the first responsibility and focus of a business – more so in case of smaller set-ups!