The UK economy is growing at its fastest rate in three years. And it’s no wonder small businesses are finally finding themselves in a more certain market where they can plan ahead and do more than just survive. Potentially with the worst of the storm behind them, it’s time for the UK’s estimated 4.8 million SMEs (small and medium sized enterprise) to plan for the future, specifically for growth and strength.
Life for UK Small Businesses
An SME is defined as a company with 1-49 employees. A new term – micro businesses – has sprung up to cover the growing number of businesses with 1-10 employees. It’s estimated the vast majority of the UK’s small businesses are actually micro businesses. Figures from Enterprise Nation also suggest around 62% of the UK’s businesses are sole traders.
It’s the same for the freelance artist as for the engineered foam company SME – growth is impossible without strong resources.
Why Are SMEs in Such a Great Position?
Curiously, the number of big businesses in the UK is on the wane. Less than 6,000 “large” firms (i.e. more than 250 employees) are registered in the UK. That figure is down from 7,000 at the turn of millennium.
The great thing about SMEs is that they’re generally adaptable. They pave the way in terms of early adoption. For example, the use of tablets and other smart devices at checkout tills is already commonplace in boutiques and small stores. The one place new technology tends to flag is in the big business environment. It takes much more time, effort, organisation and money to roll out new practices, technologies and strategies in a large business environment.
SMEs are in a superb position when the economic shift heads towards the black. They’re able to move fast, update, adopt new marketing and technological advances early and fill niche gaps in the market that larger firms could struggle to focus on.
Who is Targeting SMEs?
In a nutshell, other SMEs. It’s no longer profitable to offer a single service with few customisation options. For example, several machined foam firms have begun to offer full services to entrepreneurs and would-be inventors, essentially walking them from the design board to the final stages of logo design and marketing, and everything in between. This means someone with a good idea is able to get their small business off the ground without scouting around lots of different suppliers and manufacturers. It’s this type of flexible yet thorough service that’s offering SMEs the chance to pick and choose the services and products that make their lives easier and more profitable.
Another great example is in I.T. Numerous firms have created highly customisable I.T support and storage services aimed at small businesses. SMEs can pick and choose exceptionally specific services and avoid paying for products they don’t need.