Business needs to be more than just a livelihood

With political and regulatory uncertainty in abundance, it’s understandable that most businesses will have little appetite for investment or expansion. 

However, this uncertainty will eventually pass, and the UK government, of whatever persuasion, will need to make its intentions around economic growth clear and unambiguous to unlock the UK’s trade potential. But the focus needs to be in the right areas to make this work. 

For many, the UK has been a great place to start and run your own business, and we now have more than 3.1 million sole traders operating across the UK, according to

2.9 million of those have no employees. That’s 93% which could be described as making a livelihood rather than running a business, and that’s not going to be enough to help the economy. We need more sole traders to grow, employ, invest and become medium-sized businesses. The reasons are fairly obvious but here are 10 to get started with:

  • Job creation: Medium-sized businesses often contribute significantly to employment opportunities. They typically require a diverse range of skills and talents, leading to job creation in various sectors.
  • Innovation and adaptability: Medium-sized businesses can be more agile and adaptable compared to larger corporations. They are often better positioned to innovate, implement new ideas and respond quickly to market changes, contributing to economic growth.
  • Regional development: Medium-sized businesses are often deeply rooted in local communities. Their success can lead to the development and growth of the surrounding region by providing employment opportunities and supporting local suppliers.
  • Supply chain impact: Medium-sized businesses can stimulate economic activity throughout their supply chain. This includes sourcing raw materials, working with local suppliers, and distributing products or services, thereby contributing to the overall economic ecosystem.
  • Tax revenue: As successful medium-sized businesses generate revenue and profits, they contribute to the tax base, which can be used by governments to fund public services and infrastructure projects.
  • Market competition: Medium-sized businesses enhance competition in the marketplace. Their presence helps prevent monopolies, encourages efficiency and offers consumers a variety of choices.
  • Entrepreneurship and wealth creation: Medium-sized businesses are often founded by entrepreneurs who take risks to pursue their ideas. Their success can lead to the creation of wealth, not only for the business owners but also for employees through wages and benefits.
  • International trade: Some medium-sized businesses expand their operations globally, contributing to international trade. This can boost economic ties between countries and provide access to new markets.
  • Diversification of industries: Medium-sized businesses operate in various industries, contributing to a diversified economy. This diversification helps reduce the risk and improve resilience.
  • Community engagement: Medium-sized businesses are more likely to engage with their local communities through philanthropy, sponsorships and community initiatives. This fosters positive social development.

So, whoever ends up in the hot seat this year would be minded to focus on incentivising small businesses to become medium-sized businesses. 

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