Over the past year or so, a number of surveys have emerged and some interesting statistics which are valuable to us all in business:

● Almost 4 million SMEs in UK (less than 250 people)
● More than 99 percent of UK companies are SMEs
● SMEs employ over 13 million people
● 97 percent employ fewer than 20 people
● 70 percent are one-man owner managers
● SMEs generate more than half the country’s GDP
● 90 percent of all commercial innovations come from SMEs
● 500,000 people per year set up new businesses
● The major reasons they cite for doing so: “Freedom”, “Control”, “Be my own boss”, “Work-Life balance”

And yet…

● 95 percent of new businesses fail to survive, let alone reach their full potential
● Most business owners work inordinately long hours, for very little reward
● and most sacrifice their Freedom, Control, Life balance at the altar of business survival, particularly in the early years, and increasingly for all time!
● The large proportion of one-person businesses is due to the fact that they
–  can’t afford to take on someone else
– don’t have time to wade through the red tape surrounding employing others
– can’t delegate, or are reluctant to delegate
● The average British worker is working longer hours than most
● and is unproductive for a whopping 85 days per year!

A number of key factors are cited for this…

★ Bad supervision
★ Poor morale
★ Wrong people in wrong jobs/ roles
★ Poor communication
★ IT problems
★ Poor planning

And yet…

✔ 88 percent of workers have regular “brainstorming meetings”
✔ 52 percent have meetings every day

So how can you use these statistics?

➤ They indicate certain demographics and trends in potential markets for your service/ product/ brand
➤ They indicate a number of important motivators (freedom, control, life balance)
➤ If you are a manager they tell you what motivates / de-motivates your team
➤ They tell us what to watch out for ourselves
➤ They indicate some areas which need to be worked ON, in order to prevent problems arising, in any scale of business
➤ They indicate where performance improvements can be made (meetings, time, energy levels, life balance, communication, and improved supervision and support)

If these are the critical issues on which the success of a business / company / team depends, how much real development and improvement time did you devote to these things in the past week, or month, or year?