The Happy Small Business Report

As a small business owner during a recession, staying optimistic can be extremely exhausting. The Happy Small Business Report, compiled by Promotr (of Upward Curve PR), is a collection of positive statistics on small UK businesses that might help you to see things a little differently.

The eight-page report spells out some of the positive things you might be overlooking while you’re exerting yourself to stay above water. Rather than be overwhelmed, Promotr urges us all to take a deep breath, look at the figures and stay positive– if not for ourselves, then for our businesses.

‘Acting positively in a recession is essential for survival and thriving post recession.’

The guide is designed to remind us that positive actions are essential for the survival of any business, especially during an economic downturn, when the terrain is inevitably much more treacherous.

But what is ‘positive action’?

The guide sites John Quelch, marketing professor of Harvard University, who says that successful companies stick to their marketing strategies, even during an economic downturn. Also featured is Nigel Hollis, analyst at the Millward Brown Research Company, who says that increasing marketing spend during a recession can have long-term benefits for a brand.

A time for innovation and improvement.

Though we might be less inclined to spot them, good things can result from bad times. Just like war is a catalyst for technology, a recession can bring about innovation in business. According to the report:

  • 45% of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) claim to have introduced new or improved products or services in the last year
  • 38% of SMEs had improved processes (5% up on the previous year)
  • about 52% of SMEs in the primary or manufacturing sector had improved processes.

‘Ill blows the wind that profits nobody’ – Henry VI, W. Shakespeare

We may well be in a recession, but 66% of SME employers reported a profit in 2009, and 70% of small businesses owners expect to make a profit in 2009. Small businesses haven’t necessarily been thwarted by the general downward turn; over 30% of small businesses reported that they had grown between February and April this year, and 37% have recruited new staff.

And if you assume that small enterprises are now unlikely to be able to raise finances, you’d be wrong: about 70% of SMEs successfully obtain funds from the first source they approach. In fact, bank lending to small business actually rose from £235m to £54.2bn in January 2009!

The report also presents some surprising and especially relevant statistics. Did you know that 21% of new businesses are women-led as opposed to 14% that are men-led?

A breath of fresh air.

The Happy Small Business Report is a genuinely refreshing initiative that should perk-up even the gloomiest of small business owners, and remind us all that we should always see the glass as half full.

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