In the UK there are around 4.5 million enterprises that are defined as SME by ONS. Interestingly 75% or 3.3 million of these enterprises do not employ staff i.e. sole traders who should be considered more as self-employed jobs and therefore should be excluded from the numbers.
Based on the EU employee definitions of the remaining 1.2 million businesses 83% (968,000) employ under 10, and are classed as micro enterprises, 15% (172,000) employ more than 10 and less than 49 employees and are classed as small enterprises and only 2% (26000) employ more than 50 and less than 250 employees and are classes as medium sized enterprises. (Source B.I.S Survey 2010)
The demands of these three segments are completely different and the complexity of transitioning from micro to small and small to medium brings totally different issues.
Let’s have a quick look at how businesses in each of these segments can behave.
Level 1 The Power Boat Phase
Micro businesses behave like a power boat. They are nippy and manoeuvrable. Flexibility is their advantage beating other boats to the action. They are quick to react to the conditions as they are very close to the sea. They can see things coming but have to constantly focus on the moment.
To ensure the other power boats (competition) don’t steal a march on them the skipper (business owner) is constantly on the lookout for the next job and keeping in front of the game. If the skipper (business owner) takes their hands off the controls for a moment disaster can ensue.
The ride is always very bumpy but exhilarating.
The skipper fixes the engine, maintains the boat, makes sure they have the right crew and gets stuck in when they arrive at the next job.
With never enough time to properly maintain and improve the boat means the boat and the small crew taking such a prolonged pounding the speed may be slowed to make it a more comfortable ride. This results in them being beaten to the jobs by other new boats in the area.
However the main problem is that in choppy or stormy conditions they can easily be sunk- losing everything.
Level 2 The Fishing Boat Phase
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