Unlike most people last week, I was fortunate to be away at an exhibition in Germany where I met colleagues and friends from other countries.
Those from Germany, France and Scandinavia were somewhat despondent, with many areas giving concern and a lack of investment being the norm. Equally so were those from Australasia who are now having to compete with the newly emerging economies head on.
What was not so remarkable was the fact that universally there is a general feeling that our politicians are out of touch with the realities on the ground, and nowhere more so does this come across than with the treatment of small businesses, and in so many areas.
The apparent lack of understanding of the difference between a small business with the owner, or owner manager, doing most of the work with a few staff compared to the medium of larger business where there is someone else to share, or to delegate the workload to was creating the most concern.
Now that our General Election is over and the dust has settled, we must hold all of our politicians to account to actually deliver on what they promised us over the last weeks before polling day. For the smaller businesses, this includes simplifying family friendly laws, promoting better regulation, improving our access to public sector procurement and investing more in our roads and railways.
Training and apprenticeships also came under the spotlight, and nowhere is it more important to help businesses of all sizes to grow and diversify than to have the correct training in place headed by the business community - creating a demand lead structure so that our young people as well as those needing retraining become better skilled or more employable.
We have a lot of talent which needs to be correctly harnessed for the future prosperity of us all.
Clearly though what we do not need any more of is increasing burdens of taxation and regulation. What all of my colleagues and our customers were saying so simply last week was that we are competing with cheaper labour markets in the "East" whether they were jobs going to Eastern Europe where costs were so much lower, or greater competition from the newly emerging economies of the Far East like India, China, Vietnam, Taiwan and the other countries around areas.
Global competition and adding value to what we do is clearly what all of us in business need to be focused on. We must continue to invest in and to grow profitable businesses, and we urge all of our newly elected politicians to help us to do so.
* Mike Cherry is West Midlands policy unit chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses