You may have noticed here at Simply HQ, that we keep shining a light on 'micro business' when referring to small businesses in the UK. We're very clear why. Micro business refers to all businesses with 1-9 employees, currently making up about 96% of all private business in Britain. We want to be specific here because you may be surprised to know, small business actually have 10-49 FTE (full time equivalent) employees - pretty large in our eyes. For us, when we're talking micro business it includes, sole traders, freelancers & self employed folks as the official figures acknowledge about 60% of micros don't employ.
Now that we've established the terminology, let's shine a light on micros and what impact they will be having where you are!
If you imagine around 5.2 million micros, sole traders and freelancers across Britain, you can start to imagine the value they have in your community. They may be trading in your local high street or perhaps more likely working from a home base providing goods and services. Their income keeps them in your place and spending in your place too. They often have additional flexibility in their work too which may release time for child or elderly care and community participation. All this before you've even experienced what they do!
So how to find micro businesses where you are.
We, of course (!), would start with the Simply directory which covers some part of the UK at present. Giving you access to coaches, photographers, independent holiday places, cafes, producers, makers or designers, there's something for everyone. One of the special things we do at Simply HQ is to include micros from all sectors so we have designers, makers, freelancers, experts, hospitality enterprises, retailers, artisans and more. This unique blend of members means that our tribe work together, buy from each other and use each other's services.
If we don't have a Simply Club member to share with you where you are, then here are some tips for seeking out & shining a light on the best:
Use the Google 'near me' search to establish those little businesses that you didn't even know were there. Getting to know your local micros is key to giving them confidence and uncovering the rich array of expertise near you.
If you need a service or gift (or treat/holiday/business help etc) then take the decision to go local or independent first. Building relationships with trusted small businesses this way often results in a much higher value experience and is uplifting for the soul too. Win win.
Use tech to save your favourites. We spends o much of our time scrolling away on socials but how often do we forget that lovely place we saw but didn't save? Start by using lists, notes or apps like Pocket to collate your favourite places even if purchasing isn't an option today. This commitment to micros and their positive impact is powerful and makes it easy to go back and find what you want just when you need it.
Use socials for good. Social media has got a bad rap and rightly so in many ways. But what about turning the tables and making it a space that you use for good? If you discover a great micro business, then build a new habit of sharing it with your audience. It isn't just for celebrities to share their favourite brands. Acts of generosity and kindness will make life better for you and them.