A letter from a business owner to his employees

The pressure on business owners continues to build. The following letter is been emailed around among entrepreneur networks and has found its way to us. We’re not sure of the identity of the author, but is has certainly struck a chord with business owners.



If you wrote the letter (or know who did) get in touch with us at feedback@smartcompany.com.au – we’d love to hear more of your story.




To all of my employees,


There have been some rumblings around the office about the future of this company and more specifically, your job. As you know, the economy has changed for the worse and presents many challenges.


However, the good news is this. The economy doesn’t pose a threat to your job. What does threaten your job however, is the changing political landscape in this country.


First, while it is easy to spew rhetoric that casts employers against employees, you have to understand that for every business owner there is a back story.


This back story is often neglected and overshadowed by what you see and hear. Sure, you see me park my European car outside. You‘ve seen my overseas holiday snaps at last year’s Christmas party. I’m sure all these flashy icons of luxury conjure up some idealised thoughts about my life.


However, what you don’t see is the back story.


I started this company 19 years ago. At that time, I lived in a three bedroom villa house for three years. My entire living area was converted into an office so I could put forth 100% effort into building a company, which by the way, would eventually employ you.


My diet consisted of baked beans, stew and soup because every dollar I spent went back into this company. I drove a rusty Holden Torana with a wonky transmission. I didn’t have time to go out with my mates. Often times, I stayed home on weekends, while my friends went out drinking and partying. In fact, I was married to my business -hard work, discipline, and sacrifice.


Meanwhile, my friends got jobs. They worked 40 hours a week and made a modest $50,000 a year and spent every dollar they earned.


They drove flashy cars and lived in expensive homes and wore fancy designer clothes.

Instead of hitting David Jones for the latest hot fashion item, I was trolling through the discount stores extracting any clothing item that didn’t look like it was birthed in the 70s.


My friends refinanced their mortgages and lived a life of luxury. I, however, did not. I put my time, my money and my life into a business with a vision that eventually, some day, I too will be able to afford these luxuries my friends supposedly had.


So, while you physically arrive at the office at 9:00am, mentally check in at about noon and then leave at 5:00pm, I don’t.


There is no “off” button for me. When you leave the office, you are done and you have a weekend all to yourself. I unfortunately do not have that freedom. I eat and breathe this company every minute of the day. There is no rest. There is no weekend. There is no happy hour.


Every day this business is attached to my hip like a one year old special-needs child.


You, of course, only see the fruits of that garden – the nice house, the cars, the vacations… you never realise the back story and the sacrifices I’ve made.


Now, the economy is falling apart and I, the guy who made all the right decisions and saved his money, have to bailout all the people who didn’t. The people that overspent their pay suddenly feel entitled to the same luxuries that I earned and sacrificed two decades of my life for.


Yes, business ownership has its benefits, but the price I’ve paid is steep and not without wounds.


Unfortunately, the cost of running this business, and employing you, is starting to eclipse the threshold of marginal benefit, and let me tell you why.


I am being taxed to death and the Government thinks I don’t pay enough. I have state taxes. Federal taxes. Property taxes. Sales taxes. Payroll taxes. Workers compensation insurance. Public liability insurance. Taxes on taxes. I have to hire an accountant to manage all these taxes and then guess what? I have to pay taxes for employing him.


Government mandates and regulations and all the accounting that goes with it now occupy most of my time. On 15 October I wrote a cheque to the Australian Taxation Office for $28,000 for taxes. You know what my “stimulus” cheque was? Zero. Zip. Zilch.


The question I have is this; who is stimulating the economy?


Me, the guy who has provided my employees with good paying jobs and serves over 80,000 customers per year with a flourishing business?


Or the single mother sitting at home pregnant with her fourth child waiting for her next welfare cheque? Obviously, the Government feels the latter is the economic stimulus of this country.


The fact is, if I deducted (or better description, stole) 50% of your pay you’d quit and you wouldn’t work here. I mean, why should you? That’s nuts. Who wants to get rewarded only 50% for their hard work? Well I agree, which is why your job is in jeopardy.


Here is what many of you don’t understand… to stimulate the economy you need to stimulate what runs the economy. Had the Government suddenly mandated to me that I didn’t need to pay taxes, guess what? Instead of depositing that $28,000 into the Canberra

black-hole, I would have spent it, hired more employees and generated substantial economic growth.


My employees would have enjoyed the wealth of that tax cut in the form of promotions and better salaries. But you can forget it now.


When you have a comatose man on the verge of death, you don’t defibrillate and shock his thumb, thinking that will bring him back to life, do you? Or do you defibrillate his heart?


Business is at the heart of Australia and always has been. To restart it, you must stimulate it, not kill it. But the power brokers in Canberra believe the poor of Australia are the essential drivers of the Australian economic engine. Nothing could be further from the truth and this is the type of change you can keep.


So where am I going with all this?


It’s quite simple.


If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers.


You can then plead with the Government to pay for your mortgage, your 4WD and your child’s future. Frankly, it isn’t my problem any more.


Then, I will close this company down, move to another country and retire. You see, I’m done. I’m done with a country that penalises the productive and gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be destroyed.


So, if you lose your job, it won’t be at the hands of the economy; it will be at the hands of politicians who swept through this country and changed its financial landscape forever.


If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, with no employees to worry about.









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