Friday, August 08, 2008

What's Wrong with Business Today?

What's wrong? Public Investment is what is wrong.

Companies are no longer allowed to be the best at what they do. They have to increase profits quarter after quarter at the expense of employees, quality, integrity, and identity.

What is so wrong with a business growing to a certain size and staying there? If said company is profitable enough to keep everyone paid and happy why be forced to continue growing?

Public investors are only interested in the bottom-line. How much money will they make from investing in these public companies? Is that healthy to anyone but the investor? Nope, not at all.

This situation has crushed smaller companies and left our economy on the brink. Look at how many monopolies or near monopolies we have created in recent years. Public investors did that, at the expense of consumers. And so it creates a nasty feed-back loop, one that feeds on itself.

I'm not suggesting that all investment is bad. I think private investment is a good thing. It allows those individuals or groups to invest and thus help smaller businesses get going. I see this as more of a loan than an on going income for the investors. Once the company is strong and profitable, pay off the investor and move forward. There is plenty of private funding around for businesses to do this.

A positive side effect of this kind of investment is a more hands on approach to investment. Sure the investor is going to want the business to be profitable but they are less likely to be just sitting on the sidelines wanting profit at all costs. They will be more inclined to see the business succeed based on it's business plan. These are the investors that will be mentors as well.

I'm not saying that private investment is perfect either, but we have been destroying our own markets by making them so easily accessible and public. Any Joe with a computer can become a day trader. Does that mean his investments make sense or are somehow helping the economy? No. These kind of traders are only after the pay off, the reward. They are not interested in their investment helping a business grow or become better, only that they are profitable and produce dividends.

So when times are lean, such as now, companies trim the things that make them good companies because we wouldn't want to piss off the investors. You do that, as a CEO, and you risk being tossed out, even if you were the founder.

I'm not anti-capitalism, but something has gone horribly wrong with our investment system. It should be corrected soon before it completely crashes and the 1930s looks like a boom time.

No comments: