Strong peer support networks: the secret ingredient for SME success

By Amanda Salt, Vice President, Small & Medium Enterprises, UK Card Services, American Express

Strong peer support networks

Starting a business is an attractive proposition for many – research from American Express reveals many entrepreneurs start their own businesses to have the freedom to manage their own work (51%), enjoy a better work-life balance (42%) and feel happier and more fulfilled (38%).1 

Taking an entrepreneurial leap is one thing, but setting your business up for lasting success presents a different challenge.

Business owners need support along the way

While half (50%) of the entrepreneurs surveyed think it’s ‘easy’ to start your own business in the UK, when asked what, if anything, they would have done differently when starting their business, 37% said they would have developed a clearer business plan, 30% said they would have built a stronger financial base, and 30% said they would have sought more advice or expertise.

So it’s clear that business owners themselves recognise that they need ongoing support to help navigate some of the challenges they face on their business journey. 

The power of support networks 

An important part of driving business success lies in the strong support networks that can be found among peers and business communities. Entrepreneurs can build these networks by signing up to support groups and finding business mentors, attending SME networking events, and joining established small business networks.

In fact, our research found that over two-thirds (67%) of business owners understand the challenges entrepreneurs face and are keen to help where they can – as part of this effort, almost a quarter (24%) are joining small business networks to help support other entrepreneurs.2

Referrals and recommendations that come as a result of key contacts are a powerful part of knowledge sharing and smart decision making for business owners. By building a network, business leaders can share experiences, gain fresh perspectives, and use their peers as a sounding board for new ideas which they may not otherwise have considered.

This is important for any entrepreneur, but especially those who may not yet have the experience to tackle complex issues on their own – being able to call on a trusted peer for advice on a specific challenge can have a real impact on business performance. Research conducted by productivity champions Be the Business found that a third (33%) of those businesses who received advice reported increasing revenues, compared with about a quarter (26%) who didn’t.3

Strong support networks, and the recommendations and referrals that come with them, have benefits in the form of material advantages for the business as well as peace of mind for small business owners. They can operate their businesses with the assurance that they have trusted contacts who can advise them when needed, and the business as a whole is more sustainable as a result.

Refer a small business owner and earn additional rewards with American Express

American Express is running a limited time offer on its American Express® Business Platinum and Business Gold Cards. Until 2 July 2024, Cardmembers who refer other small businesses owners for a Business Gold or Platinum Card will earn additional benefits.

Referrers who successfully refer a small business owner for a Business Gold Card will earn 20,000 Membership Rewards® points and an additional 2 points for £10,000 of spend up to 20,000 points for 1 month of successful referral. Referees will earn 35,000 points if they spend a minimum of £6,000 within the first 3 months.

On the Business Platinum Card, referrers will earn 30,000 Membership Rewards® points and an additional 2 points for £20,000 of spend up to 40,000 points for 1 month of successful referral. Referees will earn 70,000 points if they spend a minimum of £12,000 within the first 3 months.

For more information visit the American Express Refer a Business page. Terms and conditions apply. 18+ subject to status. American Express® Business Gold Card Annual Fee: £195 (£0 in the first year). American Express® Business Platinum Card Annual Fee: £650.

American Express Services Europe Limited has its registered office at Belgrave House, 76 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW1W 9AX, United Kingdom. It is registered in England and Wales with Company Number 1833139 and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

1 American Express and The Entrepreneurs Network commissioned Opinium Research to survey 250 UK business owners and 1,541 UK adults. The business owner research was conducted 2 – 9 November 2023. The research among UK adults was conducted between 3 – 7 November 2023.

2 All figures are based on fieldwork by Opinium on behalf of American Express. Fieldwork was run online between 29 September – 4 October 2023 amongst 500 senior decision makers from companies of less than 500 employees.

3 Figures based on a survey of 1,179 senior decision makers in UK businesses, working in companies of 2-249 employees, conducted by Opinium between 1 – 14 March 2023.

Sponsored Feature
Sponsored Feature

Share via
Copy link