A brief history about UNITE
Like me, many of my friends and SME business associates look to find simple ways to make things work, we rely greatly on own decision making processes. Let’s face it running a small to medium sized business takes a little blood sweat and tears, and a great deal of planning.
Most SME business owners feel “Fortunate and Proud” of our achievements, we relish employing people and get a kick out of seeing the business grow. We work harder than anyone else, we put in more time and effort and ultimately we are the creators of our own success. (And failure)
In 2011 I met with several SME owners, we discussed a number of things including issues with labor, taxation, we discussed agents that performed so well for the first three months gained trust and then became hell bent on making quick money from stealing data, or worse concocting with the clients to move their campaign to them on the understanding they would receive a cheaper hourly rate.
“I must admit that I have suffered some of these issues” and whilst my senior management team has done everything needed to protect the business and our clients we have been “done over”
One of my business associates lost money on three campaigns, each time he did his (did as much) due diligence and for several months made a decent living, then the client disappeared and he was not paid, he lost money on his VOIP as his IT security processes were not adequate. He learned his lessons, but only after losing a lot of money.
Another hired an external accounting firm; that eventually ran off leaving him with a very large and unpayable tax liability. Fortunately my Tax advisor was reliable and came to his aid, it cost him money to solve the problem but at least remained in business.
After this meeting, I felt there was a lot to offer by forming an SME Club, where people like you and I could meet, chew the fat, put things right and basically help out where we could. (With the proviso that we did not interfere in other members businesses) At the end of 2011, I formed an association of SME BPO businesses “A Club” basically an exclusive networking platform which provides interaction between entrepreneurs. UNITE was born…..
By the middle of 2012 we were around 15 members strong and whilst I would like to think we were on the right track, our businesses took priority over the club and lack of time to attend to club matters and to be honest some members were not as active or supportive as they first agreed they could be. To kick start UNITE again, I recommended that as a group we joined CCAP, it seemed the ideal path for us to benefit from being part of a larger organization that had the backing and support from Government.
As you can probably guess we had given much in terms of ideas and time, but the initial benefits of being a member were not realized and slowly the UNITE SME members left.
I have since re kindled the club, spoken to the previous members and we agreed to re-launch UNITE on a similar platform to when we started. Our objectives then as they are now are achievable, our aims simple…. Protect our members from “SCAM CAMPAIGNS & DODGY EMPLOYEES” these two benefits alone are the key to making sure our businesses survive.
The Clubs web site is now ready, we have incorporated several new ideas (even our own on-line radio station) to help keep the membership alive and in doing this we believe we will see more members and be able to achieve our own goals for the CLUB.
Business Development is a primary concern for most SME businessmen, I am asked if UNITE can help get new campaigns, the answer frankly is NO that’s not part of our remit. However, we have created a website that we intend to use to promote our businesses at home and abroad, we have also discussed the issues of Disaster Recovery (what do we do in the event my center is flooded out or worse) by offering assistance to other members even if this is just a few seats until they can re-open may save and associate from going under, perhaps one of the members needs to expand his campaign, could you offer additional seats on either a short or long term basis.
Shared resources, we have employed the services of a labor lawyer and a tax advisor/auditor, both will provide members with assistance (initial consultation will be free to members) thereafter reasonable rates have been agreed.
We have formed committees for events and social groups, hey I would love to see my basketball team beat yours. Or how about taking up golf or joining the mountaineering club, these are just some of the activities we are planning for our employees (tell us how what else we can do to help improve attrition and provide for employee engagement).
As the founding member of UNITE I want to see this work, as an SME businessman I want to see this work, as an employer I want to see this work. It can work it just needs people like you and me, willing to assist when we can, willing to take the lead when we can and willing to help ourselves when we can.
After all no one else is going to help “we are after all entrepreneurs”
I look forward to welcoming you to the club….