According to Companies House, in the first 6 months of this year 204,361 new business were registered in the UK. That is the highest number in 10 years and a 51% rise on the first six months of 2008, when the UK first went into recession.
Why is this happening? Rising unemployment is certainly a factor. Needs must. The majority of those unemployed have much in terms of skills and experience. Many a business is either not hiring or not prepared to invest in training someone who doesn’t tick every single box on the skills and experience sheet. The same is true of Graduates, College and School Leavers. Much to offer, lots of drive, little by way of opportunity. So what do you do? If nobody else will give you a chance, what have you got to lose by backing yourself?
The world of work is changing. The advantages of being small, of being a start-up, lies in your versatility, the ability to move fast to meet the needs of your customer. The low-cost of technology is levelling the playing field, affording smaller companies the opportunity to compete with larger corporates. Genuinely low-cost models prevail. The ability to set yourself up from home yet have global reach means that you can offer great customer service at low-cost and make great margin as a consequence.
Its working. Only 0.6% of firms founded in 2009 had since gone into receivership or liquidation, compared with an average of 4.5% of those firms set up between 2000 and 2008. The new breed of business owner is smart. Circumstances dictate the need to focus on cash. Low cost, cash generative, flexible models are order of the day. People are focused and willing to learn. They are driven to succeed, no longer wanting to rise or fall on decisions over which they ultimately have little influence.
Small Business is the life blood of the economy. We should celebrate the courage and tenacity, the spirit and drive of anyone prepared to give it a try. There is a big difference between true entrepreneurship and being a great technician. Regardless, we should do more to encourage people to try starting a business. I am not sure it is uniquely British, but we love a tall poppy. We do it to our sports stars, our business leaders, our stars of music, stage and screen and we do it to our business champions. Build them up and as soon as they have a whiff of success, we love to cut them off at the knees.
In the UK we don’t celebrate success anywhere near enough. Our media focuses on failure relentlessly. It needs to stop. Maybe this is the time. Keep those start-ups, those small businesses coming. If it doesn’t work out and it’s still for you, do it again. Do it as many times as you can. We need you and love you for having a go. We will be thanking you for many years to come, because it is you that will return us to long-term, sustainable economic growth. The little guy is the giant of this new economy. Its time for David to become Goliath.