Home Brexit UK’s entrepreneurs still optimistic about growth

UK’s entrepreneurs still optimistic about growth

by LLB Reporter
8th Jul 19 5:47 am

New research into the ambitions of Britain’s smallest firms has uncovered a perennially optimistic community of entrepreneurs, undeterred by the current political upheaval.

The Small Business Barometer, a biennial snapshot undertaken by small business support network Enterprise Nation, found growth expectations were impressive, and only slightly lower than the last poll in 2017.

The research, which surveys 500+ small company founders and self-employed individuals, found 72 per cent still said they expected their business to grow, compared to 77 per cent in 2017.

An impressive 65 per cent said they were planning to boost profits by introducing new products or services.

While 77 per cent were still working from home, almost three quarters were working at it full time (69 per cent), with just under a quarter (24 per cent) running a side hustle while holding down a day job.

Of those running a side hustle, 40 per cent said they hoped to be working on the business full time in the next 12 months. Only six per cent said they were only doing it to make extra cash.

But there was an acceptance that working for yourself can be a lonely game. An interesting 50 per cent admitted to feeling lonely some of the time and another third (29 per cent) said they felt lonely often.

When you drill down into the detail, loneliness was at broadly the same level for those that worked full-time from home (46 per cent) and those that mixed it up with working in co-working spaces (47 per cent), or had their own office (52 per cent).

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “Yet again, we see the resilience of the UK’s entrepreneurs, and despite the political turmoil it seems they are just getting on with what they are good at – business.

“But with more than three-quarters working solo and self-funding their business, it’s clear entrepreneurship doesn’t come without its mental challenges.”

Stress comes in peaks and troughs.  And while almost half (49 per cent) of full-time workers say they feel stressed often, this actually falls when it comes to those running a side hustle (32 per cent).

Emma added: “It seems running a side hustle might actually be good for your mental health, or at least detract from work issues, while giving an outlet to creativity.”

A third (33 per cent) said they relied on family and friends for advice and support, another third (30 per cent) said they were a member of a business membership organisation and a fifth (19 per cent) said they had a mentor.  But a quarter admitted they had no one to turn to for advice.

The majority of the firms polled said they were the business’ only full-time employee (62 per cent) and 71 per cent said they used their own website to sell their product or service.

Exporting is healthy, with a third (29 per cent) saying they exported to the EU and beyond, with a slightly higher 39 per cent expecting to export over the next six months.

When asked how their firm had performed, 48 per cent said it was in line with expectations, 18 per cent said it had performed better but more than a third (33 per cent) said it had performed worse.

Of those that reported a better performance than expected, 75 per cent said it was down to new clients or business, 32 per cent said it was because they had added new products or services or invested in marketing.

The firms polled were typically limited companies (58 per cent) with 35 per cent sole traders. They had mostly been trading from between 0 and four years, with a third (27 per cent) trading between six months and two years. 

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