SME Insights from Small Business Saturday

Databax, an SME who provides cloud hosting services to other UK SMEs, knows all too well the struggles that small to medium sized businesses face, especially when first starting out. They recently caught up with Cathryn Moses, Campaign Manager at Small Business Saturday to ask about their work supporting small businesses in their communities.

Why was Small Business Saturday created?

Small Business Saturday began in the UK for the first time in 2013 with the aim of supporting the UK’s fantastic 5.2 million small businesses and getting consumers to spend more money with them. The campaign is grass-roots, non-political and non-commercial and so works entirely to support, promote and inspire small businesses – digitally, via events throughout the year and culminating in Small Business Saturday itself in December.

What was the highlight of Small Business Saturday 2014?

Small Business Saturday 2014 was a great success – 16.5 million people shopped in a small independent business on the day and 64 per cent of UK consumers were aware of the day. We travelled around the UK on a bus tour for the 3 weeks preceding 6th December which gave us a chance to engage face-to-face with small businesses at a local level across the country – a real highlight of the year for us. But what really makes it all worthwhile is hearing some of the small business success stories. One of our Small Biz 100 businesses this year, Magpies Nest in Tameside, saw a 289% increase in sales and 120 per cent increase in spend on the 6th December, which are just incredible figures!

How important are SMEs to the UK economy?

SMEs are vital to the economy. Last year there were around 5.2 million small businesses which employed 25.2 million people, with a combined turnover of more than £3,500 billion (FSB stats), which speaks for itself. But the importance of small business goes further than the stats. Small businesses are the driving force of our local communities, from your local plumber who came out on Christmas Eve to fix a leak, to your local printers who helped you to create your business cards for 2015 – it’s all about that personal service! We are all connected to a small business – it’s your sister, your mother or your neighbour, we all know someone who runs or works in a small business, so we should take a second to think about the small businesses that we know and how much they contribute to our community and local economy.

What can the public do to help SMEs in the future?

People should support small businesses all year round. We hope that Small Business Saturday will allow consumers to discover a small business they didn’t know before, or to think more about what great small businesses there are at the end of their street or through a quick internet search. It’s about taking a look around you and thinking about the way you spend your money – and shouting about it!

What advice do you have for people looking to set up a new business in 2015?

There are so many great resources out there for people looking to start-up, from the government’s Business is Great campaign, to HMRC’s free online webinars or Enterprise Nation’s biggest free Startup event of the new year, Startup 2015 (to name but a few!) – there is so much great support out there. So get online or on the phone, speak to other small businesses or some of these great organisations to get inspired and supported. And don’t forget to follow Small Business Saturday on Twitter and Facebook!

The last Small Business Saturday took place on December 6th 2014. Although the event helped to direct the nations attention towards local SMEs, it is important that during the next 12 months we do not loose sight of the importance of UK SMEs.

Image: Small business via Shutterstock