Small businesses continue to be absolutely vital to UK prosperity. While independent groups are increasingly calling on the Government to make it easier for small businesses to flourish, it’s micro and home-run businesses that continue to catch my attention.
1) Micro businesses are more prolific than you might think
A recently launched Home Business Report from Enterprise Nation identified that there are 2.9m ‘homepreneurs’ in the UK delivering £40bn to the local economies in which they live and through outsourcing work, and contribute more than £300bn annually to the national economy. What’s more, 65% planned to keep their business at home and the majority suggested that given the choice, they would remain self-employed.
2) The Government’s behind home businesses
As the value that small home and micro businesses bring to the UK is increasingly understood, the Government has actively backed this group. In August, the Government launched The Home Business Initiative, which has been designed to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start and run small businesses from home. It is interesting to see that 70% of new firms start off in the home and recent research suggests that many remain based at home, with more than a million reportedly having been trading for more than 20 years.
3) Tech advancements are allowing for more e-commerce start-ups
The changing nature of technology is allowing more entrepreneurs to set up and run a business wherever they like. This is a powerful change. Charles Baden-Fuller, centenary professor of strategy at Cass Business School at the University of London, has estimated that 90% of businesses are not on the high street and that in a digital world, many start-ups are starting as e-commerce-only ventures.
4) The number of small and micro businesses continues to increase
Just this week, research by insurance firm RSA has revealed that the number of zero-employee firms has increased by 21.4% since the recession, which made it the fastest growing segment.
5) UK growth opportunity comes in supporting small and micro businesses to grow
The RSA study goes on to highlight that turnover per worker climbs in line with employee numbers, so as these businesses grow, that will bring greater economic benefit to the UK. The FSB has also just launched a campaign calling for the government to get behind small businesses. Its new #ibacksmallbusiness campaign comes in manifesto form and calls on the UK government to support small businesses to help deliver economic growth and increase employment prospects. In the words of the FSB, small businesses “have a huge amount to offer. They are agile and create jobs faster and in larger numbers than any other kind of organisation can”.
There is growing support for the UK’s small businesses and increasing recognition of the huge role they play in the UK’s economic recovery. What makes this moment such an exciting time is that the very smallest businesses are starting to get the recognition they deserve for the value they bring.