Friday, 24 June 2011

India the emerging superpower! Or is it???

Every week adds its own stock of stories that tell of India's rise to economic superpowerdom.

This week, Indigo - a relatively new domestic airline placed a huge order for 180 or so Airbus A320neo passenger planes, second only to AirAsia's order for 200 planes.

But also this week the Economist published a remarkably clever interactive map of India, replacing the names of the various states with their nearest country equivalents in annual GDP terms. So Uttar Pradesh for example - that huge (94,000 sq miles, 243,000 sq Km) and populous (2011 popn 200 million) is, in population terms, bigger than Pakistan, or even Brazil; but in GDP (103.5 Bn USD) terms the nearest equivalent is in fact tiny oil rich Qatar, population 2 million.

Carrying on in this vein, Andhra Pradesh becomes Slovakia, Maharashtra is Singapore, Madhya Pradesh is Guatemala, Tamil Nadu is equivalent to Angola.And the industrial power house state of Gujarat, with the worlds largest petrochemical complex, is in reality the equivalent of Angola.

Fascinating stuff. The map is far more impressive than dry statistics of GDP per person.

No doubt India is advancing economically at a pace only just overtaken by China, but that growth is nowhere near fast enough, or sufficiently evenly spread, to lift the vast bulk of the poor out of poverty any time soon.

A sobering thought.

PS. The GDP figures are based on Purchasing power parity conversions of rupees into dollars.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Striking out on your own

I left paid employment recently and decided to set up on my own.

I am lucky. Lucky to be at a stage in my career where I don't exactly have to worry about keeping up the repayments on the mortgage. 

Lucky also in that I can look forward to a decent final salary defined benefit pension scheme.  

The recent changes in public finances and the consequent public sector cutbacks led to my employer offering an early release scheme and though it meant a serious dent in my income, I decided to take the plunge when I still had the energy and the enthusiasm to do something different. 

So I set up on my own.

I am now familiar,  if somewhat daunted, with such matters as company filings, P&L statements and HMRC returns. 

Should I get an accountant? Do I need a fancy website? Do you have the keep the paid up company share capital in a steel box under the bed? What are the pros and cons of buying such things as a computer and printer on the company account. 

All very interesting questions and there is lots of material to consider. But it all takes away from the core task of going out to get the business, deliver what the client wants, and keep up the level of skill and knowledge needed to work in what is after all a knowledge business. 

Without that there isn't going to be the profits out of which to pay the tax. 

Lots to do,  much to learn. 

But the key thing, I am fast discovering, is that its takes discipline to work on your own without the warm (if sometimes stifling) embrace of a large organisation that provides the wherewithal of everyday work - a desk, telephone, computer, blackberry, meeting rooms. I miss also the office camaraderie, and yes also the strangely welcome annoyance of stupid emails, mandatory training to tick some health-and-safety-gone-barmy  box, and the maddeningly inane organisational newsletter. 

Better get back to the business of growing the business!