LIZ Truss was making waves last week – and her detractors have had enough. In one news segment, a frustrated Conservative commentator thought that the best thing for her would be to give up and go run a hotel in the Outer Hebrides.

Was the implication that only an ­idiot would try to run a hotel in the Scottish islands? Or was the suggestion that running a hotel in the islands is so easy an idiot can do it?

Either way, it’s symptomatic of the ­prevailing attitude of many Sassanaich, who despite our best efforts, seem to think that the islands are simply for escaping to and that they are staffed by halfwits who sleep all winter.

With her seemingly bottomless ­capacity for disaster, Truss (below) running a hotel in the Outer Hebrides is now something I want to write a skit about.

The National: Conservative leadership bid

Based on recent news events, I’ve cooked up a scenario where she and Nicola Sturgeon are forced to make an unlikely alliance and commandeer a campervan before heading north, Thelma and Louise style, determined to escape politics by running a hotel in Stornoway.

They soon discover that the ­hospitality industry in the islands is not the walk in the park you might think – that fresh ­lettuce is right up there among the ­greatest challenges, right after joining the community council – that politics can be worse than they ever imagined.

Running a business is difficult enough. Running one in the islands comes with a whole additional set of problems.

The hospitality industry appears to be one of the hardest to keep on an even keel right now; staff are like hen’s teeth, ­produce is increasingly expensive, patrons are ­increasingly poor and no-one is sure what the season will bring. Anecdotally, ­business seems to be down. I don’t think Liz Truss would stand a chance, frankly.

READ MORE: Scotland's wood-burning ban is another case of 'mainsplaining'

Running a business in an island context is most definitely not so easy that an idiot could do it. Those of us who do run them, however, can be heard to mutter from time to time that only an idiot would try. As a small business owner myself, I can attest to that.

In addition to the croft – which I’m not counting for the purposes of this because I suspect it will only have a detrimental effect on my pension – I’m stupid enough to run two businesses. One sells ­packaged goods, and one is a digital agency.

They are very different types of business each with their own unique set of challenges but it’s safe to say that the packaged goods one – a small tea label – is the most ­logistically taxing.

Starting with the positives, running an island-based packaged goods business gives you a multitude of unique selling points.

The landscape makes it easy to find images to illustrate your location, and so with my cynical marketing hat on, that makes it ideal for selling lifestyle products or food and drink. Our entire tea brand is based around the islands – the stories, scents and sounds are woven through the packaging and marketing.

If we weren’t ­island-based, we simply wouldn’t have such a strong brand. There’s an incredible palette of inspiration to draw on.

On the flipside, when there are 80,000 tea bags in transit from the Kent-based blender, the ferries are cancelled, the freight is backed up and it’s rained for three weeks solid, the risk of ­receiving 80,000 individual soggy packages is very real.

Every single delivery we receive is ­subject to additional transport costs. Very, very few suppliers use Royal Mail. Everything goes by courier. When you are north of Perth, the “Highlands and Islands” delivery surcharge usually kicks in.

When you are actually in the islands, it increases again. Most parcels need to change courier, incurring a second charge. and – it stands to reason – risking breakages. That surcharge affects every aspect of an island business which deals in physical things. To all intents and ­purposes, it is an island tax.

READ MORE: Posing with lambs isn't enough to convince islanders of SNP commitment

Whether you are ordering packaging, labels, or indeed salad ingredients, the ­island tax has to be added on. By ­necessity, that cost trickles down into your pricing.

It has to. Economies of scale can help offset it – but only if you have the capital to buy large quantities, if you are confident that you will sell it and ­crucially, if you have somewhere to store it. You won’t be surprised to hear that business premises are hard to find.

Scaling a business is brutal anywhere, but the island tax and its ripple effect makes product-based island businesses very hard to scale unless you can ­invest heavily. A business adviser recently ­suggested that I should move production to Oban in order to grow. We might be quids in, but that’s definitely not on the cards.

The point of running my businesses in Tiree is to keep living in Tiree. That’s why most of us do it, including – and ­sometimes especially – those who run their business from the kitchen table.

We talk a lot about the challenges ­women face in the islands – particularly relating to childcare. One solution to the work and childcare dilemma can be for women to set up and run their own businesses – often starting at the kitchen table.

These businesses are largely missed by agencies. Advice feels hard to access ­because it rarely speaks to the context in which they find themselves. When ­advice is accessed, it is largely dispensed by ­people who have no concept of islands, never mind trying to juggle multiple roles whilst learning how to grow a small-scale enterprise.

One woman I spoke to recently had spent 45 minutes of a one-hour session listening to the adviser wax lyrical about the islands and how fortunate she was to live there.

Over the last few months, I’ve had the great privilege of working with Women’s Enterprise Scotland as an Enterprise ­Enabler on their Business Creation Course. My role has been to support women in Argyll who are looking to start or are just starting their own businesses.

I’ve been truly inspired by the ­women on the course. Up against what are ­sometimes remarkable odds, they are planning and executing their visions for their own business. But how do they grow – maybe not into multinationals, but into sustainable enterprises which support them financially – when they are faced with what feel like insurmountable challenges?

For those of us processing orders at midnight and wearing too many hats, it can be galling to watch large investments going into single businesses.

It’s a catch-22. To attract investment, you have to prove growth, but achieving growth when your season is short, your costs are high and your spirit is steadily being crushed by battles every business owner will ­recognise. It’s easier said than done.

There are plenty of escapees from the big smoke arriving and buying or setting up island enterprises with the confidence that having capital brings – but what about those starting at the other end of the ­spectrum?

The ones who will stay longer than the lifespan of a lettuce and keep a community healthy and vibrant? They are the ones for whom a small ­investment could make all the difference.

If we really want to encourage ­sustainable economic growth, we need to lower the barriers to success for micro and small businesses in rural areas – with accessible investment and, funny though the idea of Liz Truss trying to keep ­order in an island bar is, with a little bit of ­respect for island enterprises – both present and future.