According to new research conducted by Panasonic Business Systems, into the concerns, inspirations and needs of UK’s small and medium sized business community, a massive 54% of UK businesses start life without any kind of plan, indicating that the style of the UK small business boss is one of ‘accidental entrepreneur’ rather than ‘five year plan man’. When it comes to whether men or women are the better planners, it is the men who are thinking ahead with 53% of men starting their businesses with a plan compared to only 40% of women.
This research was conducted to mark the launch of Panasonic’s Be Your Own Boss campaign. When it comes to why bosses had set up on their own, over a quarter of those surveyed cite the major catalyst as wanting more freedom and flexibility, indicating that they had had enough of traditional working practices. This is supported by one in ten women making the decision because they wanted a lifestyle change or because of children.
Is there ever a right time to take the leap and become your own boss?
According to the survey 38.3% started afresh in the spring time and six out of ten respondents reckon the best age to go it alone is in your 30s when you have both experience and energy.
What’s important to UK SMEs?
Technology resources are heavily relied upon to help these businesses appear more professional and able to compete with more established competitors, with over 64% of those surveyed nominating the PC and broadband connection as indispensable. When it comes to making a good first impression, 57% of these bosses were concerned about coming across as too small; and for men size really mattered with over two-thirds wanting to appear bigger than they really were, whilst women hold more store in their experience and that it will shine through despite the size of the company.
The survey has revealed that attitudes to small businesses have changed and that they are able to compete on a level playing field with larger organisations, this is because resources exist today that enable growing businesses to deal with the big boys. To combat the size issue and to appear professional, 38.9% of the UK’s growing businesses are still reliant on well-produced documents, indicating that the paperless office may still be a long way off. With the business equipment available today and the desktop revolution it is easy enough for a smaller business to produce high-quality documents. Other ways to boost the size of a company include a well-developed web site indicating that an online presence is essential; good branding was also important. The old-style traditional status symbols of a smart address and an efficient receptionist did not seem to matter much to today’s bosses.
Reassuringly, even though today’s self-made bosses are hugely reliant on technology a massive two-thirds of those surveyed said that people were still their most important asset.