The UK economy is one of the most vibrant and diverse in the world, so there is tremendous appeal to starting a business there. But current trends show that we are not just part of a great economic centre – but a place where young businesses can utilise digital technologies and create truly life changing companies. Whether for the business owners themselves or for the hearts and minds of consumers. So why is this the case and how has it made the UK a great place for you to start a business?
Empowering individuals in a digital economy
What is on offer to small businesses in terms of technology is of great significance. Technology assists companies in their business processes, not just through company formation – but also in important post-formation work. Digital channels ease service delivery. With tech solutions such as eCommerce, paid advertising through Google AdWords and customer feedback channels such as Feefo it’s clear that the range of technologies available make doing business simpler.
But it’s not just the technology, it’s also the proactive approach to nurturing exciting digital businesses that empowers individuals in the UK economy. This is evident in places like London’s Tech City and elsewhere like Brighton or Manchester – and it has made the UK a hotbed of opportunity to launch a potentially globally recognised company. Startup initiatives and incubators are commonplace at present and are valuable in helping businesses scale up. This is a key driver of interest in the UK. The government funded scheme Start Up Loans is a good example of this. There are many other privately funded initiatives like the Barclays Accelerator program and Virgin Startups that enhance this interest further.
It’s great to see British companies, and the government too, getting deeply involved in creating a nurturing environment where innovative young businesses can flourish – and it’s a key reason why the UK is a such a good place to not just start a business but grow one too.
How small companies can function more effectively through online channels
Social media is one of the biggest democratisers when it comes to giving people a voice. Their popularity cannot be denied, with even mainstream news media and entertainment utilising hashtags and trends to enhance their social media presence.
What this shows is that business processes like advertising and PR can be run effectively through online channels like Twitter, Facebook or other social networks. This simplifies the processes but also gives young companies, in a free society like the UK, a voice that is equal to even the biggest brands. It’s also worth noting that registering for and using many of these networks is free.
There are intelligent data driven applications available online too. The ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) company model is highly innovative and interesting in itself, but more interesting are the low cost solutions they deliver for small businesses. Examples include Capsule CRM, which costs as little as £8 per month, and other accounting, HR management or task organisation software. Many of these SaaS companies, including Capsule CRM, provide free options in the form of trials or reduced functionality that are great for small businesses looking to find what technologies really work for them.
Digitally delivered processes enable new companies to make use of marketing, accounting and other business software functionality that previously only larger businesses could. This means they are able achieve more, but also run their business more efficiently. This, coupled with the UK’s high level of web connectivity and accessibility, adds to the appeal of the country as a great place to start a business.
Inspiration – How tech has seized the public imagination
The public consciousness of the UK is inspired and invigorated by tech. It is completely embedded within our daily lives. Whether that’s walking past signs on public transport promoting YouTube channels or seeing ads on television from Google about breakout successes like The Cambridge Satchel Company – tech has become an inspiration for life changing possibilities. This capturing of the public imagination is a great motivator to form a business in the UK and become part of a society rooted in digital.
We all have our favourites, but the possibility of turning that hobby interest or passion (as is the case with YouTube channels) or that dream of manufacturing high-quality products (as is the case with The Cambridge Satchel Company) into something tangible is tremendously appealing. Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, received a £12.7m investment – so these life changing possibilities are not just dreams, they can lead to considerable financial interest.
The public consciousness has been inspired by tech and it’s possibilities. We’ve seen companies like Google and Apple as great proponents of this, with huge advertising campaigns promoting the idea of carving out your own digital niche through online channels or creative software, and making use of them to ultimately generate a viable source of income that is completely tailored to the individual.
Invigorating tech in the UK economy
There are so many potential backers in the UK, which is key to it’s appeal. There is a real momentum building as the UK is a key player in digital, either with companies innovating new technologies themselves or companies making use of existing technology led solutions to deliver established products and services in a fresh way.
UK companies like organic children’s food manufacturer Ella’s Kitchen or the niche product stockists Not On The High Street show that the UK is a at the forefront of this. StartUp Britain revealed figures in January 2015 that 581,173 businesses were registered with Companies House the previous year – beating the record of 526,446 set in 2013. The tendency for growth is there and that trend is a big appeal for starting a business.
Practical considerations including less bureaucracy when starting a business are key to the appeal too. Many overseas entrepreneurs form companies with us – last year we had 191 from Italy, 535 from Spain and 2410 from China. It’s an attractive place to do business, and confidence was said, at the end of 2013 by the Federation of Small Businesses, to have been at an all time high. With these continuing trends, and a business environment that allows innovation to be nurtured, the tech infrastructure helps a business grow.
Regionally London and the South East are the hotbeds for new companies, but there are considerable contributions from the East and Scotland that suggest the entire country is experiencing a surge and that the UK is undoubtedly a great place for you to start a business.
By Alex Novakovic at MadeSimple