Micro businesses (those with 0-9 employees) include all sectors and all types of business and are present in all our communities and places. However, they can be less visible and less prominent that we think in a world dominated by huge multinational businesses that shout louder.
Micro businesses in the UK account for a whopping 96% of all private enterprise and look like a million different things (5.2 million to be specific). From plumbers to business consultants, from retail shops to hotels and from osteopaths to artists.
We may label them all slightly differently - indie businesses, small businesses, lifestyle businesses, freelancers or local. But they do all come under one clear and useful micro business umbrella.
Why does finding micro businesses matter?
Micro businesses, because of their number and proportion of the UK business landscape, are arguably THE most significant business sector in Britain. They bring income into our national coffers as well as economically, socially and often environmentally supporting our communities. Micro businesses are embedded in place, providing the vital ingredients any community needs to thrive. Whether filling your high street with great shops and services or providing your household or business with invaluable products and expertise, micro businesses must be supported and seen to ensure the livelihoods and experiences of millions.
If we're able to seek out the micro businesses where we are, perhaps even in preference to a larger enterprise sometimes, we're ensuring the future prosperity of our places and environments. The assumption that 'shopping small' or 'shopping locally' is an expensive or inconvenient one is a myth. Micro businesses consistently out perform their larger rivals for value, customer services and supply chain curation that goes on to support many others where you live.
Regardless of what you're in the market for - a coffee, a gift, a professional service or a new supplier, micro businesses will offer you the experiences and relationships that really add true value to us.
Economic value because micros can't afford to profiteer & plough their earnings back into their own communities.
Social value because micros often give back, provide flexible working & engage with their communities meaningfully and regularly.
Environmental value because micro businesses like to work together creating short, transparent supply chains and can little afford to waste, over consume or build a throw away business model.
So how to find micro businesses.
We need to fundamentally change the way we search, recommend and network in our pursuit of solutions. Reaching for the Amazon app, relying only on Tesco and assuming only the big guns are trustworthy is a habit we can break.
We need to create communities and networks that supply us with what we need. We may not look for an ad in a local paper anymore, but we spend our lives on socials & messaging services so it's easy to create a list of recommended and trusted places to shop, eat, help and deliver.
We can redefine what 'convenience' really is. Convenience has been sold to us as the cheapest and the quickest way to access what we want. But what of developing human relationships, real people we can rely on or the impact of knowing that your purchasing power has built your community or high street rather than diminished it?
We can turn up the volume on the conversation. 'Micro business' is a phrase we can talk about, look out for and share so that more people (& micro businesses themselves) can gain confidence and build value. The more we shine a light on those micros where we are and the more we use the the right word to describe exactly what we love, the better able are our micro business communities able to meet the needs of us, their customers.
Creating communities that produce valuable experiences is more important than ever in a world that suffers from the scourge of isolation, loneliness and depression. Buying from, or working with, a micro business will likely include interacting with a great human that's looking to help. The significance of that opportunity to connect may be the positivity that we all need more than we know.
So, 'micro' is the word and positivity is the outcome. What will be your first action today to connect and find micro businesses where you are?
Naturally we can highly recommend the micro businesses that make up Simply Club - a curated community of micro business owners that we're growing to provide the right kind of easy support, spotlight and connection that they need all year round.