It’s good to be the king!

Today over 3.5 million people in Britain run their own business. In 1979 there were only 800,000 companies in the country.  

In an interview in today’s Times, Lord Young of Graffham (David Cameron’s adviser on enterprise and former Trade and Industry Secretary) describes the UK as “an economy in transition”, moving away from a landscape dominated by a few industrial giants to one teeming with small businesses.  “In 1979, we were down to 800,000 firms.  Today we have 4.8 million companies, 400,000 new ones in the last year.”

Behind this business population explosion is the rise of the self-employed entrepreneur.  As Young explains “three quarters are sole traders and 96 per cent of all firms in this country employ fewer than ten people.”

Is this a good thing?  I think it must be.  On the macro level, smaller businesses mean the economy is more agile.  Small companies can respond faster to events.  Their prevalence is surely a factor in the UK’s relatively low levels of unemployment.

On the individual or (perhaps more accurately) personal level, running your own business means more responsibility and, sometimes, stress.  But ultimately you are the king of your own castle. And it’s good to be the king!

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2 Responses to It’s good to be the king!

  1. i read a thing recently about all the sexy new entrepreneurs on the american conference/lecture circuit..they give good media copy and they’ve got the oratorial/performance thing down very well…lots of new paradigms…cars that don’t run on petrol…but the interesting thing is the forecast sees the american economy being in a really good place by 2020,and it’s not because of these sexy entrepreneurs and prophets…its the farmers and the oil that are saving the day….but they’re just not sexy..it’s dull copy,and the men with their sleeves rolled up in that very effective area aren’t modernists in cool clothes..they’re big big business,yet in the glossy media sense,fairly off the radar.

  2. David says:

    I agree it’s the unglam stuff that seems to make the big money. The tortoise versus the hare. I always liked that quote from the much-quoted Warren Buffet … Despite a lot of criticism he’d shunned all the dot com crap in 1998/1999 – and done very nicely by focusing on “such cutting-edge industries as brick, carpet, insulation and paint.”

    That said… I am looking very DOWDY today and it’s not done anything *so far* to make me rich.

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