There seems to be a common misconception amongst society that big businesses, and big businesses alone, are pivotal to the UK’s long-term economic ambitions. The reality, however, is that small businesses – approximately five million of them – actually play an equally important role in boosting growth and creating job opportunities. This is why the country’s successful large enterprises must start being prepared to offer a helping hand to take these fledgling companies to the next level.
I know I’m biased, but now really is a great time to become an entrepreneur. The UK has seen record numbers of new business being formed since 2013, and this is only likely to continue as the post-recession economy stabilises and the government continues to offer its support. However, start-ups naturally face challenging obstacles during their first few years of trading, so in order to thrive, they often rely on the support of well-established businesses.
Personally, I am always looking to support the business community in any way I can. Daisy has recently launched a free online business support hub, which contains cross-industry guidance specifically for small and growing companies. Why? Because it’s proven that the more ‘clued up’ new businesses are during the initial start-up period, the more likely they are to succeed.
However, support is not limited to one format and it can actually come in a variety of ways. Small businesses are always searching for access to finance and markets, as well as more manpower and people to fill skills gaps. Business support doesn’t necessarily mean financial backing, so there should be plenty of firms in existence that have the potential to help smaller companies overcome at least one of their respective challenges. Besides, collaboration and the formation of strong relationships could actually result in some surprising benefits.
There has been plenty of talk about firms beginning to realise the important role they have to play in helping drive the UK business landscape forward. However, it’s no good talking a good game if they can’t back it up. Now is the time for them to take on the proverbial baton, assist the next wave of entrepreneurs and help nurture them into businesses we can all, as British citizens, be proud of.
Matthew Riley is a successful, serial entrepreneur and the CEO of leading business communications provider Daisy Group plc. Having founded the company in 2001, he has turned the venture he started in his garage into a £400m business with 60,000 customers.