Companies repeatedly going bust. It is one of the biggest causes of frustration in our industry. There are many of us out there that try our very best to run our companies the best way possible. To ensure the best products are fitted by the best installers and to try and provide the best customer service and after care possible. It’s a hard job, but there are plenty of us out there which do a very good job. But then when we see our competitors constantly changing their name or going bust on a regular basis – without penalty, it really does test the patience of those trying to do things right.

One of the biggest comments to come out of these bankruptcy debates is the lack of concrete steps to prevent the bent directors quickly wrapping up a company and starting a new one within 24 hours. Surely it shouldn’t be that easy to avoid the penalties?

I see bankruptcy situations in two different ways. In one respect there are hard working companies that have gone to the wall due to unfortunate circumstances and tough economic conditions. These are things which sometimes cannot be helped and probably no one can be blamed.

On the other hand, there are those companies run by directors and bosses who are simply not cut out to run a business, either because of their ineptitude or due to their own self-interests and greed. In it to make a quick buck then let the business go to rack and ruin all just to line their pockets.

The idea I had to try and stop and weed out the repeat phoenix-ers was for the tax office to set up and investigations department. For example, in the future if a company was to legitimately go bust, they would be allowed ONE chance to either set back up under careful watch of HMRC or quietly go find employment. If the new company goes bust again, HMRC would carry out a very thorough investigation as to why the business failed again. If it was down to external circumstances such as economic factors or customers illegitimately not paying, then the directors of that business should be able to try again. If that investigation finds that the directors behaviour the cause of the failure of that business, then a lengthy, even full-time ban should be imposed on that person to stop them ever owning a business again. This should also include a clause which would stop someone owning a business but putting that ownership in another name, like their wife’s for example!

What these investigations would aim to do would be to stop the cereal phoenix-ers from ever owning a business again. But also, to help force business owners to take a real look at how they run their business to make sure that they would never come under the scrutiny of these investigations. Something like this might seem a bit harsh, but if it helps kill off all the dead wood this industry seems to have collected over the years, then so be it.

The hard working companies out there are becoming very sick and tired of plugging away hard every day, just to see their competitors seemingly getting away with all sorts of malpractice and wrong-doings. Something has to be done.