At Everline our mission is to support small businesses whenever we can. In order to do this we need to understand the issues that are impacting their growth. Despite there being a plethora of data and statistics available for small business owners, we didn’t feel any single report provided an overall view of what matters to this sector.
With that in mind we have worked with leading economics consultancy, CEBR, to pull together new and existing data into a report for small businesses – providing a broad overview of the major trends in the sector.
Three strong themes emerged from the summer tracker. The first showing the gap between London and the rest of Britain when it comes to growth. Revenues in London are forecast to increase by over £160,000 by 2025 compared to the £82,000 increase expected around the country as a whole. Despite the government’s Summer Budget pledge to put the power into the Northern Powerhouse, the gap between London’s small businesses and those in the North looks set to more than double in the next 10 years.
The second relates to factors affecting growth. The report indicates that a key factor holding regional growth plans back could be digitalisation. Despite the growing importance of the digital economy, over a third of small businesses in the North dedicate only a fraction of their financial resource to digital activities, such as buying and selling online, and plan to reduce or keep their online expenditure flat over the next 10 years. This compares with just over a quarter of London businesses who said the same. A further 10% wish to increase spend but did not have the financial means to do so, while 11% felt they did not have the necessary skills.
With small businesses1 that do sell online making £810,000 a year on average through this channel, this means over 1.5m small businesses across the country are missing out on a significant potential revenue boost by failing to capitalise on the e-commerce marketplace.
The third stand-out theme focuses on SME expansion plans. Over 850,000 small businesses plan to expand overseas in the next 10 years. An increase from the 10.8% of small businesses currently taking advantage of additional export revenues. After growing their workforce (39%), exporting was the preferred way that small businesses saw their expansion plans going. The stats varied according to regions, with almost twice as many London small businesses (30%) planning to export. Businesses in the North were least likely to take their business overseas (11%), followed by the South (excluding London) at 13% and the Midlands (17%).
This is particularly telling given the government’s commitment to devolving more powers to the regions and creating small business hubs outside of the capital. Although small business growth has increased dramatically in the last ten years, it’s clear from our Small Business Tracker that more needs to be done to encourage a similar decade of growth and instil confidence in our small business network, especially outside of London.
 Annual Business Survey: Importers and Exporters 2013
See our Autumn 2014 report.
Everline provide financing that benefits from the support of the European Union under the Loan Guarantee Facility established under Regulation (EU) No 1287/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council establishing a Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and small and medium enterprises (COSME) (2014-2020). The Loan Guarantee Facility is managed and implemented by the European Investment Fund (EIF). Find out more.