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A report from earlier this year by Bibby Financial Services is now available to download from this site. Livelihood businesses in the UK is a study of micro-enterprises and looks in depth at the small business environment. In this blogpost we’ll look back at the key findings of the report.

The study which the report is based on was undertaken by Bibby Financial Services in Q4 2013 and included a survey of over 500 private sector business owners.  The employee numbers of each business surveyed ranged from 0-9 which is the classification for micro-businesses in the UK.

The survey set out to determine length of trading, annual leave and weekly hours worked, cashflow position and planning, use of technology and social media, and general expectations for growth in 2014.

Key Findings

  • Micro-businesses are established. Most (71%) have been trading for more than five years, with almost a quarter trading for 25 years or more (24%).
  • Micro-business owners are experienced. Almost half (45%) of micro-business owners are over 56 years of age and only one per cent are under the age of 25.
  • Most owners created their businesses to be their own boss (28%).
  • The majority of owners set up their businesses between the ages of 26 – 35, showing that owners are entrepreneurial from a relatively young age.
  • Only six per cent of owners inherited the business from a family member showing that the vast majority are self-made enterprises.

Aspirations of livelihood enterprises

  • Owners are hard-working. On average, business owners work 41 – 50 hours per week and a third take less than ten days leave per year.
  • A third of business owners say they are happy for their business to stay the same over the next five years highlighting aspirations of many livelihood enterprises.
  • Three quarters (74%) say that social media is not important to their business and over a third of owners (35%) do not use it.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of owners say that they will close the business when they retire.

Increase in Sales in 2014

  • Micro-businesses are looking ahead to a positive year. 61 per cent of businesses are expecting an increase in sales in 2014.
  • Owners are ‘traditional’ in their use of technology. The majority (82%) say they use the internet for news and information relevant to their business, but only 17 per cent use it for recruitment.
  • Cashflow management remains an issue with 50 per cent experiencing cashflow issues in the past 12 months.

Download the report

Please download the report for more information. On the Bibby Financial Services Blog we’ll be looking back at more findings from the report over the coming weeks so remember to keep checking back to see if our findings proved relevant for the rest of 2014 and beyond.

Contact Bibby Financial Services

As the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist and a trusted provider of cashflow funding to over 7,000 businesses, Bibby Financial Services provides a range of finance solutions for businesses in over 300 industry sectors. For more information about Bibby Financial Services’ cashflow solutions, visit: or call 0800 91 95 92.