International insurance firm Hiscox has released its seventh annual ‘DNA of an Entrepreneur Report’, with the firm using its global network of 268,000 small businesses in order to calculate entrepreneurship and business innovation within six countries, including the US, UK, Germany, France, Holland and Spain.
In total 4,140 business owners, founders or senior executives within companies with up to 50 employees were asked a series of questions during the study, as Hiscox aimed to find the world’s most entrepreneurial country.
The future is bright for SMEs
Globally, there is a large sense of optimism being harboured by small businesses during 2015. Overall, 62 per cent of respondents feel positive about the year ahead for their business compared with 57 per cent a year ago and 52 per cent two years ago.
Every country has given positive feedback regarding their outlook towards 2015, except for France, with only 43 per cent of respondents claiming to be optimistic about 2015.
All six countries were asked which nation they thought was the most entrepreneurial, with the United States gaining the top vote from all six nations. The UK came second, and Spain came last, with the Mediterranean nation being voted as the least entrepreneurial, even by people in Spain.
‘‘The report implies a new air of confidence among small businesses as they build on the nascent recovery to drive expansion and capture the upswing,’’ stated Bronek Masojada, Hiscox CEO.
‘‘The acceleration in the rate of new product launches is especially bullish. Small businesses play a disproportionately large role in global innovation and this bodes well for future growth.’’
Attracting new clients scare British SMEs
The report takes a closer look into each nation involved in the survey. When analysing the UK, Hiscox found that business is much better for UK SME owners since the last survey was conducted.
More than 60 per cent of respondents have experienced revenue and profit growth (64 per cent and 62 per cent respectively) and 22 per cent are planning to take on new staff.
There are still a number of British businesses that are lacking confidence. Around 25 per cent of UK respondents said that difficulty in attracting new customers was their biggest fear for the year ahead and the proportion is markedly higher (29 per cent) among firms with a turnover of £100,000 or less.
When asked about funding, one-in-six respondents (13 per cent) say bank lending has become more difficult to access in the past year, with a mere six per cent of respondents claiming funding has improved.
In order to gain extra cash, 11 per cent of business owners have turned to crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platforms That compares with just 2% of respondents across all age groups.