Why we need small businesses

The positive presence of small businesses in the UK

Last week, Philip Hammond delivered his first – and last – Autumn Statement. SMEs made an appearance, but some would argue they were lost among the headlines of Brexit and JAMs (the ‘just about managings’).

Hammond announced plans to plough £400 million into venture capital – a move that could unlock up to £1 billion for start-ups looking for private investment.

Many of the UK’s SMEs may still be undecided about Hammond, but as Chancellor, he needs to get into their good books. Why? Because, according to figures from the House of Commons, there were 5.4 million SMEs in the UK in 2016 – accounting for 99% of all UK businesses.

How small businesses help… the economy

The UK thrives on its multitude of small businesses. Research conducted by Hampshire Trust Bank and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) reports that the UK’s SME community will contribute £217 billion to the economy in 2020. This is a significant jump from their current contribution of £196 billion.

London’s small businesses are leading the way; the capital is expected to form the epicentre of this growth with an impressive £164 billion contribution. The ‘Northern Powerhouse’ cities of Manchester and Leeds are also expected to grow – by as much as 15% year-on-year.

As well as turnover, the number of small businesses is also in the up. Data from the first half of 2016 showed that 80 companies are being ‘born’ every hour across the UK. The research, carried out by the Government-backed Start-Up Britain, reveals that 342,927 start-ups launched between January and June of this year.

In 2015, 608,110 new businesses were registered with Companies House – a record number. This year’s figures look set to break the record again.

How small businesses help… society

On a smaller scale, small businesses are integral to the local community. Money that is spent at local businesses feeds straight back into the local area. Much has been written about the demise of our local high streets. Filled with small businesses, they have been at the heart of the community for generations. They offer society a sense of identity and the chance to build relationships.

Small businesses that are playing a positive role in society have the opportunity to gain some well-deserved recognition. Now in its 20th year, the Responsible Business Awards 2017, launched by charity Business in the Community, aim to celebrate all businesses working in a responsible, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.

Think of it as society’s way of saying thank you to small businesses with values.

How small businesses help… you

The idea of becoming an entrepreneur is something that excites many people. Not only does it give you the chance to do something you love, starting your own business also helps build your confidence, offers you a better work-life balance and creates something that you can potentially pass onto your children, helping to secure their future.

Richard Branson knows a thing or two about setting up businesses. In just two sentences he sums up the positive impact a business can have…

Firstly, the impact on you: “Above all, you want to create something you are proud of.”

And on others: “A business is simply an idea to make other people’s lives better.”

Want to do it yourself? Get inspired

If you want to start your own business, there’s plenty of inspiration out there. For example, Uber, Airbnb and Deliveroo are all great examples of business ideas that identified very real opportunities. These market disruptors spotted clear gaps in their respective markets, and created innovative ways to offer their audience a unique service.

When seeking your own inspiration, look for small businesses that reflect your own hopes for your business. Each year, the Start-ups Awards recognises entrepreneurs tipped to become household names. If you’re looking for inspiration, the 2016 Start-ups Awards winners list is a good place to start.

Starting your own business in 2017?

If 2017 is the year you take the plunge and start your own business, there are a few things you need to be doing. Be sure to make the most of ecommerce and digital tools to help you work faster and smarter, keep costs at a minimum, be more discoverable in all the right places and learn from a network of like-minded entrepreneurs.

Here at elXtr, we can offer you that network. Our membership gives you access to a host of legal and business solutions including tools, guides, checklists, videos and case studies.


We are running a special promotional offer on elXtr for a limited time. Sign up to elXtr between 3-16 December 2016 and save 30% on your annual elXtr subscription. Use the code TheGame2016 and for the price of a coffee a month you’ll receive all the protection and solutions you need to make your business idea a success.


Why not think big? With the right attitude and research, what starts as a single creative idea really does have the potential to make the world a better place.

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