Why 2022 will be a year for entrepreneurs in the UK

Why 2022 will be a year for entrepreneurs in the UK

One of the main criticisms levelled at the UK Government during the pandemic is that the social distancing and lockdown measures enacted to limit the spread of COVID-19 would prevent economic growth and innovation. However, as we approach Christmas, if British entrepreneurialism is a golden goose, then it is looking very-well stuffed indeed. 

Alongside my other business ventures, I run Entrepreneur Seminar, a mentorship and education programme for entrepreneurs, and we recently surveyed 8,000 people, most of them employed in SMEs, to gauge the appetite for entrepreneurialism among the UK public. 

We uncovered a significant pent-up demand from people across the country who are employed in full-time jobs but want to branch out and start their own business next year. Over two-thirds (68%) of those surveyed said they are considering starting a business, with the main reason ‘ given by more than seven out of ten ‘ being to increase their financial wealth ‘ showing the continuing confidence in entrepreneurialism despite the challenges of the last 18-months. We also found that the pandemic has led many to reassess their priorities and career objectives, with 58% considering a change of skills before launching a start-up and 55% saying the past year has made them more likely to start a business. 

The reassessment of priorities since COVID-19

The Great Resignation trend can partially explain the growing interest in entrepreneurialism. The various lockdowns provided an opportunity for people to reflect and really think about what they want to achieve in their career, with some opting to go it alone and become their own boss. Hard data backs up this point ‘ workers are drafting up resignation emails, handing in their notices and heading for the exit door in their droves. Over three-quarters of the 8,000 people we surveyed said they were dissatisfied with their job. While in the UK, job vacancies soared to an all-time high in October, with available posts surpassing 1.1 million for the first time, and there are roughly 4 million fewer workers in the US than there were before the pandemic. 

An era of opportunity for entrepreneurs 

It’s understandable that many people are considering quitting their day jobs to start their own business. We are in an unprecedented era of opportunity for entrepreneurs and the world is open to new ideas, opportunities and change. A common misunderstanding is that down markets and periods of disruption are bad for start-ups and entrepreneurs. But the opposite is true. Many of the world’s biggest and most recognisable businesses launched in down-markets or during the last global recession, including Uber, Airbnb, CNN, and Netflix. 

Contract to the widely held negative perception, there is often greater openness to innovation and market disruption among consumers and investors during down-markets. Consumers are open to change, while angel investors come to life during downturns and look to start-ups and smaller businesses in the hope for future returns. Over 57% of British angel investors continued to invest during the pandemic, and over 54% of them said they have even greater levels of engagement with their portfolio than pre-pandemic. 

The value of mentorship 

The people we surveyed are well-placed to take advantage of the current disruption in the global economy, but jumping into entrepreneurship is a brave decision, regardless of the timing. If there’s anything I’ve learned over my 25-year careers, it is that the most important thing for anyone starting their own business is to get the right advice and mentoring. 

Mentors deeply relate to the situations and issues you will face and the challenges of entrepreneurship. They recognise the skills and characteristics needed to be a success and have direct experience of making the challenging decisions you will need to make as a start-up founder. 

Any would-be entrepreneur must remember there is huge value in having another experienced entrepreneur or business owner to turn to for advice and support. With that support in place, anyone has the potential to run a great business, but without it the risk of failure increases significantly. 

It is heartening to see so many people looking to embark on the journey of entrepreneurship because small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy. But they will face challenges they have never encountered before and going alone requires not only courage, but a willingness to learn from others who have successfully completed that journey. 

Martin Warner
Martin Warner

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