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BLOG: Small companies, governance and lots of tape – mainly red!

This paper considers the relationship between externally generated requirements from Government, its agencies or proxies and how this plethora of paper is perceived by owner-managers of small companies.  There follows an examination of the nature and dynamics of small companies together with indications of the sheer complexity and quantity of laws, rules, codes and protocols that are mandatory in application and observance.  As such, this leads to task conflict and the prioritisation quandary in resource-limited small enterprises where the owner-manager plays many roles from Managing Director to Factory Cleaner. The final part of the paper takes a deep dive into the way in which governance of small companies is practised and asks whether it is a help or a hindrance in achieving the principal objective of the owner-manager –that of commercial survival, whilst at the same time being able to feed the regulatory leviathans or in resignation, place the telescope over the blind eye, don the ear defenders and sing "La La!".

This “Swiss Army Knife” approach is the norm in many small companies as Kotey and Slade (2005) note that In small companies, owner-managers undertake “most business activities themselves or directly supervise the performance of these activities.” (Kotey and Slade 2005, p.19).Such tinkering can however prove costly to the well-intentioned amateur

Dr  Leslie  Spiers is  the  owner-manager  of  Boardroom  Dynamics,  an  international  director  and  board  development  company  that  also undertakes director evaluation and strategic consulting.  He is Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of. Serpecon Ltd. and advises the board of Field International Ltd. He has completed term assignments as chairman of the board in companies in the agricultural, construction, recruitment, media, medical, leisure, technology and automotive sectors and has chaired over 500 board meetings. He is a specialist in governance in the SME, strategy development and implementation and works with many companies to develop the performance of directors and boards. In 2013,Leslie was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.