Small business trends 2015: a look back at this year's industry stats

Once again, we’re racing towards the end of another year. And once again, it’s been another eventful one for Britain’s smallest businesses.

We’ve seen a General Election, controversial councils and bad banks all making the headlines, whilst in more positive news we’ve seen independent businesses stage an incredible fight back.

Brighton’s become the best place to start a business and female entrepreneurs have overtaken men, but HMRC hasn’t changed too much – did catch you seen this incredible story?

Evidently it’s been a tumultuous 2015, so how has it played out in the stats? And what are the wider trends? With the help of the government’s statisticians here’s some insight…

Small businesses are bigger than ever

Small businesses have reached record numbers, according to the experts. At the start of 2015 there were an estimated 5.4 million private sector businesses, of which 5.3 million had 0 to 49 employees.

To put this into perspective that’s over 100,000 more small businesses than there were in 2014. And almost a staggering two million more than there were in 2000.

And they’re creating trillions

The latest estimates suggest that Britain’s smallest businesses are doing a fair bit for the economy too, with their total turnover sitting around £1.2 trillion.

That’s another increase from 2014 and an output that’s bigger than some country’s economies. A staggering figure, it’s one that ought to make every politician sit up and listen.

The Northern Powerhouse isn’t quite at full power

Closing the North-South divide has been an aim of consecutive governments, but looking at the most recent figures there’s still work till be done.

Typically, London has the highest density of businesses with 1,434 per 10,000 adults. Whilst surrounding it the South East (1,222), South West (1,189) and East of England (1,083) appear to be faring pretty well too.

However, go a little further afield and you’ll find a big disparity, the West Midlands (869), Yorkshire and the Humber (879) and the North East (629) struggling with business density. Worryingly, the North East has even dropped in business density since 2014, so clearly Osborne’s got his work cut out to make his Northern Powerhouse a reality.

Retail and construction continue to lead the way

Delving deeper into the stats, it’s clear that bulk of small businesses are in construction – over a fifth of the total operating within this industry.

Despite this, small businesses working in wholesale, retail trade and repair have the biggest turnover in total, while they also employ the bulk of Britain’s small business workforce.

Similar figures to 2014, Britain’s small business community looks much the same. However, with technology continuing to race ahead perhaps we’ll soon see a change…

What do you make of these findings? Have you seen any notable small business trends? Let us know in the comments section below.

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