Did You Know?
The UK's five million SMEs are vital to the economy, as they are at the heart of economic growth, providing 60% of private sector jobs and half of private sector turnover. But despite 67% of SMEs saying they're ambitious to grow within two to three years, just 20% expand their workforce each year.
To help translate aspiration into action, Ingenious Britain will be campaigning on behalf of small businesses nationwide.
What is 'Ingenious Britain'?
It's the large companies that make the news. When Ford closes a plant or Kraft, having bought Cadbury, then reneges on its recent promises to maintain local production, such companies hit the headlines on account of lost jobs.
Yet it's the small and medium enterprises that account for over 59% of private sector employment; it's the SME sector that produces half of all private sector GDP. The UK has around 4.8 million private sector businesses, well over 99% of them SMEs. And one important finding in survey after survey is that SMEs are good places in which to work.
SMEs range from sole traders, back bedroom start-ups, small retailers or consultancies, freelance journalists and web designers, local accountants and solicitors and garages, through to haulage firms with a dozen or two vehicles, small and mid-sized engineering and production companies, many of them important subcontrators to the household names, local newspapers and large medical practices. SMEs are everywhere and although they can look very different to each other they all share some characteristics which make them very different from large companies.
Learning from others
Mike Cherry, Policy Chair of the Federation of Small Business, says firmly that "small businesses are not just small versions of big businesses", something which is also true of medium sized businesses who often have more in common with their smaller counterparts than they have with large corporates with their thousands of employees and extensive and specialised resources. SME employees need to be versatile and skilled at a variety of tasks and this is one important reason why having access to good quality information is so important. It's why SMEs can learn so much from others who've been there, done that, and are happy to explain the good routes to follow.
The government is bringing huge pressure on the public sector, forcing it to cut jobs rather than take people on. In many cases large corporates are saddled with substantial debt and this, coupled with slow or even falling sales, means that they're not hiring much either. Imports to the Eurozone have fallen and this in turn has affected the Chinese economy. This is an important difference from earlier recessions when large-scale public sectors projects, a continuing export market and continuing corporate expansion played a leading role in creating jobs and driving growth.
It's now up to the SME sector to provide the growth to ensure that Britain stays out of recession. It's up to the SME sector to drive our economic recovery.
All this is why Ingenious Britain was established.
We need a campaign
We need a campaign created for smaller businesses, ranging from home-based start-ups right through to more established businesses with two hundred two hundred and fifty employees. We need a campaign which understands SME needs and focuses on them. We need a campaign that uses the experience and the strengths of energetic, growing, smaller businesses to help others start and grow as well.
Ingenious Britain is that campaign. In tough economic times bringing your experience to help others and learn from them in turn is the way to go. Ingenious Britain is the campaign making that happen. Ingenious Britain and its growing businesses community is your guide to growing your own business.
Now you can be part of it.
We want to hear from you. We want to hear how you started, what challenges you met and overcame to get to where you are now. We want to know about your successes but also about your failures. We want to know what you think the future's going to be like. We want to know what you can tell other businesses so that they can learn from you and become successful as well.
It's up to the SME sector to drive our economic recovery and the better informed it is, the more efficient it is, the more successful it will be and the more the economic recovery will benefit.
Exports are vital to rebalancing the UK economy away from its excessive reliance on financial services but exporting can be scary. It can be risky. And, yes, exporting to the EU is much harder than it was but the good news is that other markets are opening up and high quality British goods are in demand. Giving you the information you need, telling you where you can find more information, perhaps introducing you to others who can help you makes the whole thing less risky, less scary, these are all ways Ingenious Britain can bring you help and let you help others.
Ingenious Britain is a website, the one you're reading now, but there's also a buzzing social media network involving Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest - just click on the icons on the home page to find out more.
And there's a printed magazine, also called Ingenious Britain. This is usually around 80pp in size and is distributed three times a year with the Sunday Telegraph. That's close to a 600,000 circulation each time and an estimated readership of about a million people, making Ingenious Britain the most widely distributed small and medium business magazine in the UK.
There will also be round table and other larger events taking place throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled.
If you've something to say we want to hear from you. We can share it with our online community and, who knows, it could give another business just that information it needs to get over a problem that's stopping it growing. And if your story is really inspiring we might ask one of our team of expert business writers to interview you, find out more, and print it up in the next edition of the magazine.
Show your support
If you find our business resources and advice useful, show your support to the Ingenious Britain revolution by adding this button to your website or email footer. Let's kick-start British business!
This is British business with your voice. We've made a commitment to British SME businesses
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