12 September 2016
Dear Mr (Liam) Fox
I invite you to our small business on the South Coast to see how much time we (husband and wife partnership) spend on the golf course during the week. This is particularly pertinent and we are both members of our local Golf Club.
I admit to having played many rounds over the last two years and organising events – my roles as Lady Vice Captain and Lady Captain constituted my ‘sabbatical’, of sorts. We certainly indulge in weekend golf, too, and this is only right to clear our heads after each and every busy week.
We have been running our small business for 25 years, and there has hardly been a minute of respite; our combined working hours constantly reach 110 per week; family holidays have been interrupted by phone calls, emails and the need for decision-making; our combined sick leave amounts to less than some of our employees have taken in one year.
Over the years legislation has increased, putting further pressure on business owners in the realms of compliance and retraining, on top of the many responsibilities which business owners undertake.
Recessions, redundancies – all take their toll. Do we sell, grow, differentiate, specialise – business owners can agonise over decisions about how to deal with all these matters. We are, after all, human too! We pay a whole raft of personal and business taxes, and now pension contributions.
Quite frankly, Mr Fox, we would not encourage any of our three children to take over the business – the risks are too high. Sleepless nights, financial worries, finding employees with the right skills, very little time off – are not for the faint-hearted.
There are trip-wires aplenty working in Estate Agency in the UK – we’ll stick firmly to our own shores, thank you.
Please do visit our humble small business, the South Coast of England is such a pleasant place at this time of year.
Heather Hilder-Darling BA(Hons) MARLA FIDM CertMRS