LONDON, May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Revenues growing or stable for majority and almost 1 in 5 looking to recruit
Despite the Eurozone crisis, and economic doom and gloom at home, the inaugural Vistaprint Micro Business Confidence Index paints an optimistic picture of how Britain's micro businesses are performing. 72% of the 1,010 respondents from micro businesses reported revenues either higher than last year (33%) or the same (39%) in the last six months, while only 16% said that they were less optimistic than last year.
95% of UK businesses can be described as micro businesses, having less than ten employees and £1.7m in revenues. They account for nearly one fifth of the UK economy, turning over more than £613,266 million each year. The launch of the Vistaprint Confidence Index coincides with major enhancements to Vistaprint's flagship business card offering.
East Anglian micro businesses are the most confident for the year ahead, while companies in the Midlands are the least confident. In the last six months, Wales has seen the greatest increase in revenues (38%) closely followed by the North West (37%). Further highlighting the confidence in the micro business sector is that almost 1 in 5 (17%) of those questioned will be looking to recruit in the next 12 months. If only half of these intentions become reality, more than 360,000 jobs will be created.
Commenting on the index results, Richard Moody, Director, Vistaprint, UK and Ireland said; "These figures show that micro businesses are an often overlooked and under-appreciated part of the UK economy. Regulations and employment drivers are usually focused on larger businesses, but the first Vistaprint Micro Business Confidence Index shows how important a role they play in fuelling growth in the economy. This first dedicated effort to listen to the micro business sector demonstrates that these businesses need to be supported and nurtured if we want to create the economy growth we all need."
Despite the growing economic storm clouds in the Eurozone, less than a third of respondents (29%) have been negatively impacted by problems with the single currency. Unsurprisingly this rises in London to 39% and in Northern Ireland to 38.5% due to the higher proportion of European trading in these regions. The lowest impact has been felt by the North East and East Anglia with only 15% and 16% respectively stating that the Eurozone crisis has had a negative impact.
Government needs to provide more support say businesses
The impact the Government has on micro businesses is significant with only 5.3% of respondents saying that it does enough to support them. While this rises to 9% in London, in East Anglia less than 1% of micro-businesses felt they received enough support from Government. Moreover, 1 in 5 (19%) identified bureaucracy and red tape as one of the top three biggest challenges faced by their business currently. More than two thirds said they saw tax breaks as one of the top three things needed for micro businesses to thrive.
"Micro businesses are subject to the same laws as companies with up to 250 employees which have significantly larger budgets and resources. Without legislation and policy that takes into account businesses with less than 10 people, micro businesses in the UK believe they will be held back from expanding and recruiting. With redundancies from large companies growing, many experienced and skilled former employees are taking the leap to start up on their own, and based on the results of our survey, they clearly believe that more support from the government could increase their chances to succeed," continued Moody.
Tax laws hindering growth
Maybe not unsurprisingly, 27% of micro businesses said that tax laws are the most difficult legislation they have to deal with followed by health and safety (13%) and employment (10%). Tax laws are listed as the most difficult in the majority of regions with a significant rise to 40% in London. In Wales (21.5%) and Northern Ireland (31%), insurance laws pose the most problems, while in the South West (19%) it is health and safety laws.
Other barriers to growth
Micro businesses also struggle with to whom to turn for advice - more than 1 in 3 (39%) rely on friends and family, 28%their accountants and 24% business websites. Most often the biggest challenge (32%) faced by micro businesses is acquiring new customers. According to the Confidence Index, 80% are looking to grow their client base. Despite the optimistic outlook and the intention to grow, respondents say they are facing challenges such as financing growth, with 36% citing the difficulty of getting loans as the reason behind their inability to secure new customers.
Social media and Facebook will play an increasing role (37%) in the marketing mix of micro businesses, along with online advertising (31%) and door drops, flyers and posters (30%). The uptake in social media is probably due to the fact that many micro businesses are investigating all the avenues available to them as a third of respondents believe they are unable to grow as they aren't able to market themselves effectively.
"It is encouraging to see so many micro businesses are looking to grow and acquire new customers but they need access to low cost marketing tools and services that are effective in their industry in order to do this. In companies this size it is not surprising that they don't have the marketing expertise in house to help promote their businesses or even the budgets to use external suppliers. It is for this reason that we are helping them raise their profile by enhancing micro businesses' number one marketing tool, the business card at no extra cost to them," commented Moody.
Earlier this month, Vistaprint announced a significant upgrade in paper stock for its standard and premium business cards, with no additional cost to consumers. Vistaprint also introduced easy to use logo creation tools, to allow micro businesses to create a professional image without the associated cost of hiring a designer. The increased weight of the business card stock will result in a 40 percent heavier standard card, ensuring a sturdier feel and a new smoothness that will result in a higher print quality and color vibrancy across both sets of cards.
Vistaprint's standard business card will now be printed on 300gsm paper stock. Customers can upgrade as they always have to a premium business card stock, which is now printed on 350gsm paper stock. All other features, including image uploads, custom templates, backside printing and options like matte finish will be available on the upgraded stock. There are also thousands of design templates to choose from.
The research was carried out in May 2012 with 1,010 of Vistaprint's UK customers by Vistaprint's customer research team. All 1,010 respondents are either owners of or employees of businesses with less than 10 employees.
The regional split in terms of respondents is as follows:
- London - 10.77%
- South East - 18.53%
- South West - 12.08%
- East Anglia - 8.05%
- Midlands - 15.23%
- North West - 12.17%
- North East - 7.54%
- Scotland - 8.85%
- Wales - 4.40%
- Northern Ireland - 2.38%
While the Micro Business Confidence Indexoffers insight about the sentiment of micro businesses generally, it does not indicate or represent changes in Vistaprint's business results for any period.
Vistaprint N.V. (Nasdaq:VPRT) empowers more than 13 million micro businesses and consumers annually with affordable, professional options to make an impression. With a unique business model supported by proprietary technologies, high-volume production facilities, and direct marketing expertise, Vistaprint offers a wide variety of products and services that micro businesses can use to expand their business. A global company, Vistaprint employs over 3,600 people, operates more than 25 localised websites globally and ships to more than 130 countries around the world. Vistaprint's broad range of products and services are easy to access online, 24 hours a day at http://www.vistaprint.co.uk.
Vistaprint, the Vistaprint logo and Make an Impression are trademarks of Vistaprint N.V. or its subsidiaries. All other brand and product names appearing on this announcement may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.
1. 95% of the 4.8m enterprises in the UK are micro businesses according to the Office for National Statistics [http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]
2. £613,266 million is generated by micro businesses in the UK which accounts for 18.7% of the £3,277,607 million turnover generated by the whole economy according to the Office for National Statistics [http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]
3. There are 4,384,570 micro businesses in the UK according to the Office for National Statistics [http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]. 17% recruiting means 745,377 jobs