Three-quarters of small businesses are just one person; but you’re not alone

Three-quarters of small businesses are just one person, but you’re not alone.

According to companies house in the UK, three-quarters of small businesses in the UK are just one person. So who is helping them? How on earth do 4.5 million people run a business all on their own?

Undoubtedly they have help in the form of service providers, consultants and outsourcing, but at their heart, it’s still just them. I run my businesses with my business partner Ben, and we’ve known each other for over 20 years so I am one of a few people who have someone for support, guidance, encouragement and raining in my crazy ideas! So even if you’re a small team it can sometimes feel like there isn’t anyone around you who understands what it’s like to run a business. I have met hundreds of solo business owners who don’t have this though, so I wanted to explain why I believe you’re not alone.

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Being small isn’t a disadvantage

Firstly I want to declare that running your own business is brilliant. It’s hard work, it doesn’t always go to plan but it can be incredibly rewarding. So don’t think that just because you’re a ‘small’ business means you have to go it alone.

Personally, I find big business boring, uninspiring and massively dull, but that’s a rant for another day.

People who don’t run a business often measure the success of a business by how many people they employ, how big their office is or how recognisable their brand is. Sadly, all the stuff that doesn’t matter at all. So just because you’re not big doesn’t mean you’re out there on your own as a small business. You don’t need a big team and a huge office to be successful.

As a small business, you can move fast, adapt and make a huge impact in your community. You can launch a new product, change your supply chain, invest in growth so much faster than any big businesses.  You can always outmanoeuvre, outsmart and outperform a big business. That’s hugely exciting, challenging and motivating.

People rowing a boat together

There are a lot of us

99% of UK businesses are SMEs, that’s 5.9 million businesses, so just think of how many other small businesses are near you, or in your supply chain. You already know a lot of other business owners just like you.

Small business owners are often members of business communities, where other like-minded businesses come together. I’m a member of Happy Start Up , The Collective SC and The Good Business Club, and of course (shameless plug) Marketing Success Club. These are all active communities of small business owners.

I run my business from a co-working space, so I am not alone when working, as I personally find I go a bit crazy when working from home. Even if you just work one day a week from a shared space with other people you’ll find the interaction and mixing of people stimulate conversations, ideas and collaborations. If you can’t get out to one of these spaces then there are virtual meetups that can help you meet new people.

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People want to find you

A lot of people want to buy from local or small businesses. Whether it’s consumers buying directly, or as part of a business supply chain, people are increasingly looking to smaller, more agile suppliers for their needs. So don’t hide away or be intimidated by bigger names, personalities or brands. Get out there and tell people about why you do what you do, what you’d love to do and what you need help with. You’ll be amazed at the response if you’re authentic and passionate about what you do.

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Be courageous

You’re not alone, you can find other small business owners just like you in all of these places:

  • Online communities
  • Co-working spaces
  • Your supply chain and connections
  • Social media

Be vocal, get out there and connect with customers, suppliers and peers. Collaborate, share and have some fun with it.

Let’s connect on social media and support each other. You can find me here:





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The statistics about business numbers in this article are from this Government Report