British enterprise beaming?

57% of the UK's entrepreneurial businesses met or beat their target for revenue growth last year. Could things be looking up?

by Dave Waller
Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012
Looks like the woeful economic outlook hasn’t beaten the life out of our enterprising spirit just yet: while 37% of the country’s entrepreneurial businesses saw their revenue fall below their forecasts, according to Deloitte’s annual entrepreneurship study, only 16% fell significantly short, and with 53% forecasting double-digit growth over the next 12 months too it’s led us to ask the question: could talk of another recession be premature?

Entrepreneurs certainly seem to think so. For a second straight year, 90% expect to grow their business over the next 12 months, with only 8% projecting no growth or that dreaded shrinkage. Meanwhile 90% foresee double-digit cumulative revenue growth over the next three years, and 38% reckon their growth will exceed 50%. It must be true what they say, that while economies see only crisis, an entrepreneur will see only growth.

Of course, it could just be that Deloitte asked the questions a few months back, when it did look like everything may be back on the up. But we don’t want to ruin this rare chance for positivity. We’ll leave that to the Chartered Management Institute, which has also published a report into managers’ hopes and fears. Only 8% of the 616 leaders surveyed for the report said they expect GDP to grow within the next 12 months – that figure was at 15% six months ago. 76% believe business insolvencies will increase over the next year, and 68% reckon it is likely the UK will go back into recession.

The one bright spot in the CMI view is, again, the long-term picture. According to its survey, net optimism in the private sector currently sits at minus eight points, up from minus 13 six months ago. In 12 month’s time they see it as a positive net seven, and looking even further to three year’s time, it is 41 positive. Perhaps they’re just happy at not having to work in the public sector through that period.

Either way, it seems the negative atmosphere has sparked an interesting drive among people to take their fate into their own hands: the number of people earning a second income by trading online has apparently doubled in the last year. Parcel delivery service Collect+ reckons a third of what it calls ‘e-pportunists’ (oh dear) can earn over £10k a year. 59% of those trading online began doing so within the last 12 months, with 71% saying they hope to expand the activity into a full-time business and start employing staff. They’d better not shout too loudly, or David Cameron will be on to ‘e-pportunists’ as the new saviours of UK plc…

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