The UK has seen an explosion of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) over the past 10 years, bringing with it a love for supporting brave entrepreneurs, innovative start-ups and high street boutiques.
The UK currently boasts more than six million SMEs – businesses with fewer than 250 employees – which employ close to 16 million people. This equates to about 60 per cent of everyone in the private sector, providing the backbone to the UK economy.
Willingness to take risks
SMEs are responsible for creating jobs within their communities – jobs that have a higher level of employee satisfaction and retention than many positions at larger and more traditional companies.
In order to start a business and, more importantly, thrive in the current climate you need to be forward thinking, adaptable, passionate and have the willingness to take risks.
This alone means investors can be assured that their support, advice and money will be listened to and used with the greatest care and attention, making every penny count three-fold and over.
Lean business models and leveraging digital
SMEs are typically open to looking at innovative and emerging technology, often being early adopters, leveraging the power of digital and social influencers.
A common thread is that, in running a lean business model, they are keen to look at the cost-saving measures and efficient resources available to them.
This applies, for example, to overheads, with the rise of co-working spaces popping up across the UK, with a high concentration in London, Manchester and Leeds. It is not a coincidence these cities are a host to a high percentage of start-ups and fintech companies.
Silicon Valley investments into UK tech companies have seen an eye watering 252 per cent increase since 2011.
Collaborative mindset reaps rewards
Collaborative working and networking are of high importance, clearly seen in the growing number of start-up and industry led informal networking events, brunches, lunches and drinks!
These not only keep the fire alive in the business by encouraging staff to be proactive within the workplace but also create a sense of ownership among employees, which is all part of job satisfaction.
There are, of course, other opportunities that arise from the collaborative mindset that we see within the SME community. These include being first to hear on the grapevine about possible investment opportunities, and even the next unicorn before the news reaches the mainstream. This SME generation are very happy to share knowledge and welcome good practice with open arms.
SMEs truly are the heartbeat of the nation and this shared way of co-habit working is further evidence of how SMEs pull tight on the purse strings and ensure little to no wastage, while delivering creativity and a higher work efficiency level.
We certainly have a lot to learn from SMEs within the current climate. Larger firm are having to fast forward periods of change, embracing the major shift in working patterns and being able to adapt to the uncertainness that the coming weeks will bring as landscape changes. Being nimble and innovative certainly has its benefits.
SMEs play a vital role in the UK economy. They thrive under pressure, innovate in niche markets, pump lifeblood back into their communities, and are breeding ground of tomorrow’s unicorn companies.
If you are looking for an innovative and satisfying investment that has passion in every pound then investing in a UK SME might just be for you.