Small businesses need cultivating or they’ll never bloom
Dental practices, comedy clubs and all the other disparate small to medium sized businesses that are categorised under the empathy-lacking generic category SMEs are not understood by big corporations, according to a new report from Vodafone. It is the vibrancy and diversity of small businesses that will find the new growth areas that will lead economic recovery and this vital sector needs to be better understood by their communications service providers, according to Vodafone.
The UK division of the Vodafone Group said it has turned the spotlight on the people and personalities behind the millions of small businesses leading the charge for Britain’s economic recovery and unveiled the results. The report SMEs Like Me delves into some of the challenges facing ‘SMEs’ within a post-Covid landscape and identifies opportunities to do more to support this vital sector.
The report quotes figures that suggest a priority for a quarter of all SMEs in 2022 is to stay afloat, especially among micro-businesses where the figure was 32%. It claims that a ‘guidance gap’ has emerged with 59% of SMEs having sought no support or funding from any third party and only 11% having sought advice from large companies or business mentors. Most, 71% of sole traders, don’t identify as an ‘SME’.
Vodafone spokesperson Andrew Stevens, Head of Small and Medium Business, Vodafone UK admitted that it’s time that big corporations, such as mobile network operators, did a better job of defining and understanding SMEs. “We’ve learned that 71% of self-employed people don’t describe themselves as a small business, which means they may not believe that they have access to the same support systems as other business owners who run larger companies. This reinforces the need for better, clearer, more accessible advice and guidance,” said Stevens.
To support SMEs on their journey Vodafone has set up two central resources V-Hub offers free expert guidance, knowledge and a constantly evolving range of tools and training alongside free one to one advice with an advisor. Meanwhile, business.connected is run in partnership with Enterprise Nation, Cisco and Samsung which claims to be helping 150,000 small and medium-sized businesses adopt technology, boost digital skills and stay safe online.
Commissioned by Vodafone and conducted by consumer insights firm GWI, the report was compiled by responses from over a thousand SME owners/founders and employees across the UK. GWI’s write up has identified eight distinct SME personality types, with headings such as Community Builders, Passion Seekers, Lead Players, Necessity Entrepreneurs and Re-assessors. Details about these creations are available here.
“I’m not sure I could be more of a Community Builder if I tried,” said Kat Pither, founder of eco yoga mats and accessories manufacturer Yogi Bare. “It’s the DNA of my business and community is absolutely what Yogi Bare is about.”