Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals

As a small business owner I am fascinated with the idea of setting long term goals – for both myself and my business.

And Big, Hairy, Audacious ones are just, quite simply, the best kind!

It’s Sunday morning and I am having a pretty great weekend so far … right now I am watching ‘Walt Before Mickey‘ and it has inspired me to think about going for what everyone else would tell you is impossible, a pipe dream.

They are audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.
Think about investing money – how much would you earn if you opted for risk free investing. The likely answer is that you wouldn’t earn any interest at all!
The same effect occurs in your body. If you never strain your muscles to push beyond their current capabilities, you won’t just stay at the same level of strength and not grow stronger. In weight training failure is your goal for each session. Hitting the point of failure is ultimately what helps you grow stronger.

Setting a goal and failing to achieve it doesn’t have to be regarded as some terrible thing to be avoided at all costs.

Feelings of disappointment can either drown you or shape you. Sometimes, it may just be a new beginning – Walt before Mickey

Goals are vital for everyone, but especially on a Small Business and Entrepreneurial level!

The USP and main driving element of a BHAG is willingness to completely change your mind set and commit to doing something differently from the way you have been doing it.

If you can envision the big picture and are ready to take a bold and life-changing step, then it’s time to develop a BHAG.

If You Can Dream It You Can Do It

The first step is taking the time to think through what it is that you want. Where do you want to be in 10 years? Where do you want your business to be in 10 years?

Let go of constraints, think only of what would be your ideal and let your imagination take charge.

If it isn’t very ambitious and seemingly unattainable it isn’t a BHAG.

Conceptualize a goal that will change your business and/or your life.

Next … How Do You Get There?

So, lets assume for a minute that all you have imagined in the first step is eminently possible.

Quiet that inner voice for a moment!

It is likely that if your dream is audacious enough it might seem a bit on the scary side.

You can break it down into smaller, measurable chunks, or mini-goals. Take it one step at a time!

Commit

Just like you do with any goal, you will need to commit and start forward progress immediately.

If you are thinking long term, at least 10 years, it might seem like you have lots of time.

But if your goal is big enough, scary enough and audacious enough you had best get started, your dream awaits you

 

 

Small Seeds #6 – Frogs Work As Well As Coffee

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Time to tell the revenue what you have been up to!

And I just finished munching on that particularly sizeable frog 😉

For anyone wondering what on EARTH I am rattling on about now, don’t worry I’m not losing my mind.

This comes from a productivity philosophy that is about as effective as any I have tried!

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.

And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Mark Twain

I don’t know why my tax return has such a paralysing effect on me!

I’m not usually one for procrastination (I wouldn’t be terribly good at my job then would I?) and as a book keeper I love nothing more than the very defined and ordered nature of doing peoples accounts …

… but something comes over me when it is my own accounts. It rather reminds me of being a teenager again actually, writing endless revision timetables and suddenly having an overwhelming urge to tidy my bedroom rather than sitting down to study for my GCSE exams.

So this morning I sat down and decided to eat that frog rather than have it constantly in the back of my mind for another two weeks in the lead up to the end of the financial year.

Knowing you are avoiding something that is inevitably going to have to be dealt with is a pretty depressing and energy draining experience.

And now, after just a few hours, I have done it 🙂

YEAH!

And you know what?

I have absolutely no idea what I was worried about.

It wasn’t a particularly arduous task and, to be honest, I even quite enjoyed doing it.

Now I can get on with my life!

So, The Moral Of This Story

Is That

If You Want To

Boost Your Productivity

You Have To

Learn To Appreciate

The Taste Of Frog 😉

 

Bee Smart In Your Busy!

Last night, whilst doing a bit of social media wandering  it occurred to me what I was doing was rather like a bee … buzzing between platforms whilst all the time finding and transferring posts, ‘cross pollinating’.

And so a Virtual Assistant related blog idea was born … There is much to be learnt from bees on the art of being smart with your busy.

On the art of being smart with your business!

1. Honey bees are super-important pollinators for flowers, fruits and vegetables. Bees transfer pollen allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit.

They are absolutely essential in helping other plants grow.

Many SmallBiz and Start-up Entrepreneurs see a Virtual Assistant as an ‘expense’, something to afford at a time when they are trying to put any and all cash into building on their success.

Whilst I completely understand this (strategically balancing incomings and outgoings is something I wrangle with frequently) saving money in this area eventually risks doing more harm than good.

The economy seems to be rather missing the point – any VA worth their salt will throw their all into helping you grow, pouring all of their small biz expertise into maximising the return on your investment.

Essentially … your success is my success, and vice versa!

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2. They produce honey as food stores for the hive during winter. Luckily for us, these efficient little workers produce 2-3 time more honey than they need!

A Virtual Assistant is a small business professional too – they have experience and knowledge of many businesses which means they have a WEALTH of experience that you can benefit from.

VA Support can be about simple admin support if that is what you need, but if you find the right Virtual Assistant it can mean so much more for the growth of both you and your business.

I recently had a client who asked me to make some tweaks to his website, which I was more than happy to do as I love playing with WordPress.

Pretty standard stuff really – doing some resizing, setting up an automatic email/download for an ebook etc. The fiddly technical bits he couldn’t quite get right himself.

But whilst I was there I noticed some things that really weren’t great – there was no services page, the testimonials carousel only had one unattributed testimonial on it, the copy was a little verbose and confusing, the menu in a really strange order and some of the visuals were really bad quality.

All stuff that wouldn’t take me long at all to do but that would make the world of difference to his conversions. Some times it just takes fresh eyes!

The administration skills are the honey that you are looking for but there is so much more if you keep your mind open to the possibilities.

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3. The bee’s brain is oval in shape and only about the size of a sesame seed, yet it has remarkable capacity to learn and remember things. It is able to make complex calculations on distance travelled and foraging efficiency. 

As a professional Executive Assistant I have worked in the most amazing companies and even in Whitehall, and in all of those jobs I have worked alongside some of the smartest and driven people – the Brain Trust!

You really should never underestimate the knowledge, skills and resourcefulness of a professional assistant.

Your business might be new territory but having had a career of thinking on our feet, dealing with problems on the fly and learning new things at the drop of a hat there is no professional more ready to take on the challenge with gusto and style.

Skilled administrators are the people who keep the world of business turning, and any CEO worth their leadership salt will tell you the same.

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4. Honey bees communicate with one another by dancing. More on their awesome sense of time, communication of distance and direction in “The Awesome Honeybee Dance“. 

One thing I have learnt throughout my career is that a great assistant/ boss relationship is rather like a dance.

When I am working with someone I spend time getting to know the way that they work and their drivers. When you understand those two things you can create a truly effective working relationship like no other.

It is one of the things that I love most about my job, when you know the person you are supporting so well that ‘Already done’ trips off of your tongue several times a day.

Words can be overrated, and sometimes quite unnecessary!

5. Honey bees are fab flyers. They fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second!

It has long popular wisdom that  Bumble Bees shouldn’t fly, but we have learned since that they actually just manage it by doing it DIFFERENTLY.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant might not be the first solution that pops into your mind when you start thinking about needing help … Won’t it be too difficult working remotely? How will I know they are doing any work? Isn’t it going to cost too much?  &c &c &c

Don’t discount something just because it is new and different.

The range of Virtual Assistants out there and their services vary hugely. Just as with any new hire for your business you need to work out what exactly you are looking for and then find the person who is going to fit into your life with most ease and effectiveness.

A great VA (and I know I am biased but you should definitely consider me to be one 🙂 ) will bring more professionalism, skills, cost effectiveness and flexibility to grow with your business than you can possibly imagine!

Are you interested in looking at how a VA could make a difference to you and your business but are concerned about taking the commitment?

That is why Our Other Office offers a free trial so you can see what you think with no obligation – visit http://www.ourotheroffice.co.uk.

Don’t Just Consider It, Get It Done

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Reasons To Prioritize Your Website

I have recently done a website review and upgrade for a client, and it struck me that it would be a great topic for a blog.

My experience with small businesses has ensured I have a very real understanding that your website presence is of utmost importance, but most don’t take the quality and minute detail of that presence seriously enough.

It doesn’t matter if your website if just a few pages – they should be slick, error free, pleasing to look at, interesting to read and the very image of how you want people to see your company.

The smallest things matter when it comes to your small business website … how do you feel when you see a typo in a company website, are confronted with pages of awful stock photos or the copy on the website is scrambled and unengaging.

Personally? My head tells me that none of these things is the end of the world! But, despite knowing that I can sometimes be a little picky about the details my reaction to seeing any of them is more than likely to be to immediately click the back button and look for another company with a more slick and professional online presence.

After all, if someone doesn’t have the care to catch a typo in their public shop window what is their attention to detail going to be like in dealing with my business? Harsh but true!

First impressions really do COUNT, and unless you are consistently over run with business this matters to you.

So, whilst doing a comprehensive review of this website here are few of the areas I covered that could apply to your own website, a few general rules to apply throughout first and then a some specifics …

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In General

Your competition

This is essential and something a surprising number of people don’t do. You can get some great inspiration that you can put your personal brand spin on (remember though that plagiarising is NEVER on!) and having a comprehensive idea of what you counterparts are up to is never a bad thing.

Have a look at their home page whilst trying to look through the eyes of a client, compare it to yours and be honest about which you think is best. In all honesty you will probably see bits that are better and bits that are worse than yours but I would be very surprised if you didn’t get some ideas about changes you want to make after some time doing this.

One thing to remember – you are your own person and your own brand, don’t be tempted to change your essential essence!

Make It Quick And Easy To Skim

We live in an age of shortening attention spans, skim reading is a skill most of us default to without thinking about it.

Utilise whitespace, headers, bullet-points, buttons, etc. to allow people to see what all their options are in double quick time. 55% of Visitors Spend Fewer Than 15 Seconds on Your Website, make them count.

Rather like a blog … big blocks of type will immediately put the viewer you are trying to engage off. They simply won’t bother!

Everything Should Have A Specific Purpose

Be ruthless when editing,

  • Do you need to say it?
  • Have you said it before?
  • Is there a shorter and punchier way to say it?

Remember – anything that isn’t encouraging your visitors to take positive action is distracting them from doing so.

Taglines

Have you got one? I’ve got three, each with a different focus.

  • Don’t Just Consider It, Get It Done
  • Don’t Agonise, Organise
  • Do What You Do Best, Delegate The Rest

Think about the problem you are solving for the client, your USP and then get onto google, type in Taglines and ‘your business purpose’ and seek out inspiration. It really won’t take long for the ideas to start flowing.

Don’t be cheesy though, no tag line is better than a bad one. Someone once suggested I should go for the ‘Time Genie’ and put little lamps all over my website. I did, and do, stll quite like the idea and perhaps it would be have been a great idea for someone else but ultimately not really the image I want to project … keep an eye on your consistent branding.

Pictures

People really do love a picture, and there is lots of statistics on how a great visual presence will enhance your viewers interaction with your content.

There are some caveats to this … you really can’t just use any old picture.

  1. Use great quality pictures, blurry is not a good first impression
  2. Respect other peoples property, don’t steal other people images
  3. Stock photos are really the quickest way to put people off
  4. Be imaginative, you don’t have to be the same as everyone else
  5. Any image has to be relevant, don’t just use a pic because you love it

And no, great pictures don’t have to cost the earth if you know where to look.

My favourite source of pictures for websites, blogging, social media and all manner of things is Pixabay. Lots of variety, always great quality, completely free (although they do appreciate donations!) and attribution free. I’ve mentioned it a few times in blogs but it really is a fabulous site to have a wander around!

Home Page

Like the front entrance to a shop, a house you are thinking about buying or the front cover of a book, people will, rightly or wrongly, judge your site by its homepage – maximize your kerb appeal. You need to ensure it’s designed and optimized in way that represents your business in the best possible light.

It isn’t just your potential customers who look at your home page either, for search engines it is the most important and most visited page on the site. When you are considering the words you need to keep this in mind, keywords really are key!

When you look at your home page and try to think from the perspective of a customer absorbing their first impression of a company they are potentially thinking about giving some of their hard earned cash to – what would you think in their position.

A few of the questions I ponder when looking at a client’s home page for the first time …

Are you talking about yourself … this is absolutely not the place to do it. The Home page should be focussing on the pain point of the client looking at it and saying how you can make their life better. Less ‘I’ and a whole lot more ‘you’ as it were.

Keep the copy to the point, think about what you want them to know and keep it strictly to that! Quantity definitely doesn’t trump quality here, resist the urge to give away the farm and stick to the things they will really want to know rather than all the things you are so keen to tell them.

Along similar lines do try keep your sentences short, of simple construction and jargon severely limited. You are not going to impress your audience with something that reads like a line from a physics dissertation, you will simply lose their attention and interest.

Your home page should be a seductive temptation to lead them into the rest of the site – keep it short, to the point, well spaced and attractive and you have a much better chance of getting them to delve further into your site to learn more.

About Us

More than likely this will be the second most visited page, people buy people and this is where you want to help your visitor understand who you really are and not just what you do.

As such this is the page to do a LOT of talking about how wonderful you are – it goes against most peoples instincts but sing your own praises! Without being a bore obviously 🙂 It is the one page where you can talk about yourself as  much as you want.

Like with your CV think about what you want to highlight about your experience, best attributes, achievements and things like awards/ qualifications.

Testimonials

I don’t know about you but if you are anything like me this will be my next port of call if I have enjoyed everything I have seen so far.

Testimonials are a great addition to any site, and the absence of them is a red flag to most visitors.

Email past clients and ask if they would be kind enough to say a few words. As your clients are likely to be similarly busy people sometimes it helps to put a few words together yourself about what you did and ask them to embellish and personalise it.

If they were a great client think about putting a link to their website, everyone appreciates a little free publicity and exposure and perhaps in return they will do the same for you.

Remember – It is absolutely never a good idea to make them up though.

A Few Last Words

As a small business you should love your website, you should nourish and grow it with the same passion and eye for detail as you do with the rest of your business.

Revisit it regularly with fresh eyes and add, tweak, refine and update – as with the rest of your business it is not something you can just set up and forget about, as you grow so should it.

And if you want someone to pass a no obligation eye over it … just drop me a line, it is one of my favourite creative jobs for clients!

Streamlining Your Back Office Support

You probably use dozens of business processes every day.

You may go through the same steps each time you generate a report, resolve a customer complaint, contact a new client, or manufacture a new product.

You’ve also probably come across the results of inefficient processes. Unhappy customers, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines and increased costs are just some of the problems that dysfunctional processes can create.

That’s why it’s so important to periodically re-examine and improve processes when they are not working well.

Do you know which tasks really eat up most of your time?  What makes you ‘busy’?  Have you ever really examined what you spend your time doing, analysed it hour for hour?

Great reasons to embrace a little process refinement:

  • What else could you be doing with the time that you save through increasing your efficiency?
  •  Increased efficiency will encourage better productivity – reduced effort and increased output leads to greater profit
  • How do you think this would effect client acquisition, client retention and your effectiveness against your competitors?

Just because a process that you have been using in your business once worked wonderfully, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never need to think about it again.  Processes can always be improved.

This is particularly true today, where cost effective technological advances are constant being developed and time-saving Apps and software are available to all small business owners. .

1.  Automate Your Work

Embrace technology!

It is a necessity in the world of business today in order to remain competitive, and fortunately for all of us it has never been easier or more cost effective. If there’s a monotonous but frequent task or process to be done, chances are, there’s a programme for that!

A wide-variety of automation tools are available to enhance your small business’s digital presence and marketing campaigns. These business automation tools can make your business reach a success by leveraging email, social media and web services.

2. Consider Your Communication Channels

Skype is a brilliant and much under-valued resource … not only allowing you to save time and money on travelling/ phone bills by facilitating face to face meetings at a distance, but potentially allowing you to consider the many benefits of remote working staff. The instant messaging tool can also be invaluable in facilitating the exchange of information quickly and efficiently without clogging inboxes.

This is why nearly 30 million people worldwide are using Skype, one of the best known online meeting tools around.

3. Embrace the Cloud

Chances are you’re already using the cloud but are you taking full advantage? On top of improved reliability and security of data, cloud based storage and computing offers anytime/anywhere access to files and data and reduces many of the issues that manual document processing can cause such as;

  • Version Control
  • Document Loss
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Distribution Bottlenecks.

There are many options for free and flexible cloud software available, and should the worst happen – fire, flood or a visit by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – your data will be safe in the Cloud.

4. Go ‘paper-light’

The concept of a ‘paperless office’ has been around for at least 35 years, since British-American information scientist, Frederick Wilfrid, first envisioned it in 1978 in his book ‘Towards Paperless Information Systems’.

The 1970’s prediction of the ‘The paperless office’ has still not fully materialised, with some reports suggesting the average business is actually increasing use of paper by 25%.

Signing documents is a primary reason businesses give for printing but e-signatures have been legal for a decade and apps like DocuSign allow you to upload, deliver and sign documents quickly whilst retaining audit trails. Old habits die hard, the challenge for many is to cut their dependency on legacy paper-based processes and deliver real business transformation.

6. Implement a Document Management System (DMS)

A lot of people think filing is a bore, and perhaps they are right! But, deciding to maximise the benefits of the cloud is not enough, you have to think about the system within whatever platform works best for your business.

The secret to great filing is having a system that allows you to spend the least amount of time using it, and the minimum amount of time finding things again when you need them. Creating a streamlined and intuitive system for paper and electronic files will help keep things organized in the future.

Juggling many documents can quickly become problematic. This is especially true for growing businesses. The larger a company gets, the more likely it is there will be more and more documents to organize. Organizational hierarchy is one of the most important features to take into consideration when choosing a document management system. Categorization, tagging, and rating will help you find the files you need as quickly as possible.

7. Map your processes

Do you think you have clearly defined processes? Are they being implemented consistently?

Mapping your processes can help to clarify and standardize what needs to be done, when, by whom and how. What you might think is a simple process may actually reveal complexities, bottlenecks, inconsistencies and inefficiencies for improvement. It also offers an effective ground up approach to identifying which technologies would best support your business.

Sometimes it can be difficult to take time out when you are busy to focus on streamlining for long term efficiencies and productivity, but in this case a little short term pain is definitely worth the long term gain.

And, if the areas above are not where your talents lie (and believe me, for most entrepreneurs is isn’t) you should consider using a talented virtual assistant who eats efficiencies and business processes for breakfast!

A pair of fresh eyes with the experience and skill to help you do what you do best by delegating the rest!

Skills Are Cheap, Passion Is Priceless

If you’re half-hearted about something, just don’t do it. As cliché as it might sound, you really do need to love what you do.

Okay, maybe not everyone needs to love their work, but I do. Working for yourself is too hard, too ambiguous and too unpredictable if you don’t love it!

If you’re part of an entrepreneurial endeavour that you don’t care about, just stop. It won’t work. In my experience, to build a great product you need to care deeply about what you are doing and the folks who use it!

If you don’t care you’ll take short cuts.

If you don’t care you’ll be motivated by money, not people.

Your potential customers will know!

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I’m lucky enough to talk to small business owners and entrepreneurs all the time. I get to hear their stories, triumphs and frustrations.

There are a lot of reasons that I love my work, but a core part of what makes my job special is the customers I get to serve. I love the hard-working people, the community and the deeply personal nature of small business.

Entrepreneurs are driven by so much more than money! Successful small business owners are driven by their passion to create something meaningful, both for themselves and for their clients.

They are the innovators, the creators, the builders, the makers!

Sure, revenue and profits enable growth and security, but more often than not, money isn’t the top priority.

They want freedom with their time, freedom with their choices and freedom with their work. The top priorities for most small business owners are creating something valuable, designing a flexible lifestyle that makes room for family, and living by their own rules.

Building A Business Is Hard

It’s taxing financially, mentally, emotionally, physically and socially. There are so many unknowns and time is scarce.

I don’t believe there’s such a thing as work-life balance. You just make choices. As a small business owner it is hard to ever to stop working, pondering, considering your next move. Entrepreneurs are defined by their choices, the consequences and the stories they can tell as a result.

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Small Business Stories Inspire.

It’s impressive and heart-warming that small teams doing something they love can hit the big time.

Entrepreneurs are driven by many goals, but if there is one thing they share it is the importance of inspiration: to go it alone, to launch a business and to bring their vision to life… and also the inspiration that their vision can bring to others.

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I Enjoy Being A Small Business Customer.

I always try to shop small. Why? Because the best small businesses focus on quality and customers. In fact, 60% of small business owners love customer service (compared to other daily activities) probably because they know how important it is to keep customers happy. If you want to be looked after – go small and local!

LoveHate

These companies are crazy and cool

After years of serving small business, I sometimes think I’ve seen it all. And, quite regularly, I’m proven wrong. One of the reasons I love small business is because they are so unique. I just can’t believe the businesses some entrepreneurs create! It’s amazing.

Take ‘A Girl Called Jack‘. Jack Monroe offers a voice for the millions of people in Britain affected by the recession. The 25 year old has transformed herself from a single mum on benefits who kept a roof over her toddlers head by skipping meals to an online and media sensation. Her blog documents her efforts to feed herself and her child on £10 a week which is all she had left after rent and bills. She posted recipes for delicious, nutritious meals within the strict budget in an effort to help other people in similar situations. It now attracts around 1 million readers every week. Amazing indeed!

“Please don’t call me a blogger!” Jack Monroe implores me halfway through our conversation. Fair enough – she may be known by many for her blog, A Girl Called Jack, but since its launch in February 2012 she has gone on to be an author of two books, journalist, campaigner, chef and award-winner, as well as being a mother.

Thrifty: A Girl Called Jack

 

Part Of The Community

What would your village/ town/ city be without the local restaurants, pubs, post offices and coffee shops? They give us a sense of local pride. They become part of our identity, our habits, our tastes and traditions.

Small businesses make up 99% of the 5.2m businesses in the UK, yet rarely receive the public’s attention or praise. Not only do they deliver jobs, growth and prosperity for millions of people across the UK, they have also played a fundamental role in driving our economy out of the recession.

Small Businesses Do Good While Doing Well

Not only are small businesses creating new jobs and driving economic growth in this country, they also give back to their communities.

When Lucille Ball made her famous quote ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it  she obviously had the micro-business owner in mind. . The more things you do, the more you can do’ They are already a ‘Jack of all trades’ in their business, are used to multitasking to ensure their business is running as it should be and they understand the need to deliver a quality product or service to their client because if they do not there will be no business to run; micro-business owners are the perfect type of person to get involved with supporting charities, community projects and social enterprises and they very often do.

Want some ideas of how you could do some real good … this website could give you some ideas on how to DO-IT 😉

I want to spend my life doing something meaningful

I’ve spent many years working in the world of big business and even parliament, and understand the importance of small business to the economy, and therefore to us all.

One of my favourite quotes is from the running legend, Steve Prefontaine who said,

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I’m so fortunate to have been given many gifts in my life. Mentors, friends, family and employers who have all helped me grow and learn. In return, I want to do the same for others. I don’t want to sacrifice the gift, but instead use my talents and experiences for something meaningful.

Serving small business customers is hard work. Just because they are small, doesn’t mean that small businesses are simple. Small businesses have ever-evolving and diverse needs across a myriad of industries.

That’s the fun and that’s the challenge. It’s the work I choose to do because I believe it matters and because we all benefit from more small business growth.

If you too love small business, I hope you’ll spend your money with them, give your advice, share with your friends and celebrate the small businesses in your community.

MyLittleBiz

Small Business Matters

SME’s and the Economy:

  • Small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2015 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).
  • Total employment in SMEs was 15.6 million; 60% of all private sector employment in the UK.
  • The combined annual turnover of SMEs was £1.8 trillion, 47% of all private sector turnover in the UK.

Composition of the business population:

  • In 2015, there were 1.3 million employing businesses and 4.1 million non-employing businesses. Therefore, 76% of businesses did not employ anyone aside from the owner.
  • The overall business population includes three main legal forms: there were 3.3 million sole proprietorships (62% of the total), 1.6 million companies (30%), and 436,000 ordinary partnerships (8%).
  • There were 2.4 million businesses registered for VAT or PAYE, 44% of the total population. A further 3.0 million are not registered for either VAT or PAYE.

Trends in the business population:

  • There has been sustained growth in the total business population, with increases of +55% since 2000 and +3% since 2014.
  • The majority of population growth since 2000 has been due to non-employing businesses, which accounted for 90% of the 1.9m increase.
  • The growth in numbers of businesses last year reflected the composition of the business population in 2014, with non-employing businesses accounting for three quarters of the overall 146,000 increase.
  • The number of companies has increased in recent years and increased again in the last year by 117,000 (+8%). In contrast, the number of ordinary partnerships continued to fall, with a 21,000 (-5%) reduction from 2014. The number of sole proprietorships increased by 50,000 (+2%).

Locations and industries:

  • The business population in southern England is larger relative to resident population than elsewhere in the UK.
  • SMEs account for at least 99% of the businesses in every main industry sector.
  • Just under a fifth of all SMEs operate in Construction, compared to just 1% in the Mining, Quarrying and Utilities sector.

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(updated November 2015)

Figures obtained from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.