Let’s give small businesses a big voice

As the UK wakes up to Small Business Saturday, #SmallBizSatUK, a great initiative to encourage people to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities, both today and all year round, it’s time to unapologetically celebrate the nation’s 5 million small businesses, and for the business and wider community to champion them.

The Federation of Small Businesses’ October statistics provide some pretty compelling reasons why we should.

For instance, do you know that SMEs in the UK employ 14.4 million people and have a combined turnover of £1,600Bn? And those small businesses alone account for 47% of private sector employment and a whopping 33% of turnover? Not bad when you consider that 75% of private sector businesses only employ the business owners.

So it makes a great deal of sense for all of us to truly champion and support them.

And I don’t mean just a token day in the year to remember their role, or an event at No 10 (with a carefully selected ‘chosen few’ – how by the way?). To say “well done”. Particularly when some of the large stakeholders and opinion formers (banks – look at the Tomlinson report!), institutions and even the national media’s business reporting always seem to favour the top end of the SME’s scale.

It’s really small businesses, the ones that can thrive and drive growth and employment in this country, that deserve a much bigger and wider voice too. Whatever they do – why shouldn’t florists be as important as financiers? They may not make the headlines, but why not? They’re the lifeblood of much of our economy.

As a small business I’m sure you’ve wished on numerous occasions that you had a fair crack at the whip to tender for a particular contract or that the press would publish your story rather than covering for the nth time a story from the same familiar high profile entrepreneur.

So yes, we all have a role to play in making this change, but also an opportunity to have a greater impact with social media. That’s one place where everyone at least has a level playing field and the little man often does it better than the big boys… After all that’s how they all started!


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