We are pleased to announce the relaunch of our blog, with a brand new design and fresh content. We will be featuring interviews, survey results, articles from guest experts on various fields and much more – watch this space!

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A big thank you to all those who’ve taken our PPH Small Business Survey. To date we’ve had 410 respondents  with the following average demographics

  • 84% employ less than 10 employees
  • Average size by turnover: £314k
  • 20% based in greater London Area
  • 18% are both Buyers and Providers on PPH

Main findings from buyer (client) responses

  • 73% of respondents anticipate growth in 2010
  • 82% of respondents are investing in growth in the next 12 months
  • The main areas of investment are technology/web (39% of respondents) and marketing (40%)
  • Only 20% of respondents feel that business is still down due to the recession
  • 28% have said that the recession has helped them innovate and create new products and services and 26% have improved customer service to retain clients
  • 61 % of respondents have said that using freelancers has saved them over 10% of total staffing costs
  • The average cost saving per user is £17k per annum, 5% on an average turnover of £314k
  • 92% of respondents say quality of work through freelancers is same or superior to in-house staff
  • 98% have said they plan to carry on using freelancers

Main findings from freelancer responses

  • 48% are self-employed, 25% are operating as a limited company, 21% as sole traders and 6% out of an intermediary
  • 83% are based from home
  • 67% work alone and remotely to their clients
  • 74% started freelancing less than 5 years ago and 55% within the last 2 years alone
  • 51% cite wanting to be their own boss as the main reason
  • 85% say they enjoy a better work-life balance with 52% saying they spend more time with their family

If you haven’t taken the survey yet, your opinion can still be heard. Click here to take the survey >>

If you require more information on the survey please email stefani (at) peopleperhour.com

Further findings will be shared with you on PPH Economy (coming soon).

More than five million people are working from home after finishing their day job, according to new research published this week.

The survey, commissioned by the world’s biggest office products company Staples, and carried out by Enterprise Nation, the UK’s largest website for home based business, confirms that the ‘5 to 9’ trend is spreading across the country.

Of those 5-9ers questioned, 50% said their business was growing and over 60% expected to be going full time within the next 12 months.

Enterprise Nation Founder Emma Jones said: “We were amazed by what we found. Although we knew there had been a tremendous growth in home business, we had no idea that much of this was coming from the 5 – 9 trend.

“What’s particularly significant is that the current economic climate is the impetus behind this trend. For some people it’s about increasing their income to cope with a partner’s redundancy while others felt uncertain about their future career prospects and wanted to make sure they were better placed if they lost their job.”

There’s also the added attraction that building a business at night and weekends from a spare room is low risk and low cost, allowing people to increase sales, confidence and cashflow, whilst holding onto a salary.

“In a recession people often set up their own business as a way of taking control of their own life again. But the current downturn is so severe that people are being more cautious, hanging onto their full time jobs and testing the water first before making a decision. This clearly makes good business sense.”

The survey also highlighted that 72% have considered giving up their day jobs to spend more time on their home business.  When asked what would make them leave their job, 42% said it was the only way they could grow their business while 32% said it would be when they could afford to.

Staples commissioned the research after noticing a shift in shopping patterns with more people visiting their stores after 5pm.

Yetunde Ige, Staples Head of Marketing said: “Clearly this trend is something that we’re interested in as our stores are open late. As a result we are looking to launch a 5-9ers club, which will reward people shopping after 5pm and hopefully be a real benefit to those trying to start a business in their free time.”

Trendwatching.com – one of the world’s leading trend firms – has picked up on this phenomenon. Its monthly report confirms: “A recession induced need for cash and an ever-growing infrastructure enabling individuals to act as part-time entrepreneurs, are fuelling concepts that help ordinary consumers make money as well as just spending it.”

A free copy of ‘Working 5 to 9 – how to start a business in your spare time’ is available at www.enterprisenation.com

Earlier today, Silicon.com has published an extensive article featuring PPH’s provider Kirpal Sachdev – the article, entitled ‘Credit crunch turns techies to second jobs’ examines how the recent economic climate and rising cost of living impacts IT workers.

 

This follows a number of other articles in the press featuring PPH providers. We are committed to featuring as many providers as possible in press articles and TV/radio interviews so if you have an interesting story please let us know, especially if the freelancing services you offer are different to your day job.  

The recent sub-prime mortgage crisis and the interlinked subsequent turmoil in the financial markets has generated many concerns in businesses and the general outlook on the economy. The question we want to answer is: will it affect small businesses?

There is no easy answer to this question. But let’s examine the different drivers at play.

On one hand, we have a mortgage market that’s become a lot tighter. This will make it increasingly harder for people to get mortgages. Traditionally, borrowing against your home has been one of the most common ways of funding a new businesses (according to a survey conducted by the Federation of Small Business 25% of start ups use bank loans as their main source of funding, while 49% use bank overdrafts). So these facts would indicate that the credit crunch will have a knock-on effect on small businesses by affecting entrepreneurs’ ability to raise funding.

Equally, a lot of people who are already on the property ladder will find that their equity is being squeezed by the drop in house prices, so again making it harder to gear up.

On top of this, banks have gone into saving mode, switching from looking aggressively for borrowers to looking for lenders. So even with property to secure against, chances are that people will generally face it more difficulty to get a bank loan.

On the other end of the food chain, larger businesses, who are already geared up may find it harder to service their debt especially if consumer spending is affected (of which there are no clear signs as yet). Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the GDP so if that goes down… it pretty much all goes down.

With the above in mind, the number of business startup is the next year is estimated, by some, to drop. Barclays bank estimates that new business formations will drop from 420,000 a year for the past three years to about 360,000 next year.

I don’t share that view. Seemingly paradoxically I believe that the above will actually lead to a growth of the small business sector. The small business sector has always been the most resilient in the economy, benefiting from the lack of a cumbersome fixed cost base that burdens large businesses and with little or no debt to service.

There is the question of course of ‘how do we finance a small business without a buoyant property market to piggy-back on’? Well considering that over the past three years, despite abundance of cheap credit, 40% of start-ups (according to the FSB survey 2006) used own savings and retained profits to part-finance their growth, one can argue that that figure will increase in times when credit is tighter and when people are also nervous about their employment prospects.

Added to this is that fact that entrepreneurs today have more tools at their disposal to help them ‘boot-strap’ their venture than any other time in modern business history. Technology of course is the underpinning force behind this, enabling people to work remotely even deploying virtual teams without having to incur the traditional set-up and costs. Sites like ours – www.peopleperhour.com, we’d like to think, are making a distinct positive contribution to that.

Personally, I think the problems of the current financial crisis can be attributed to one key fundamental factor that, unfortunately, is an innate human trait: greed. The past number of years has seen an excess liquidity fuelled by cheap credit, which has led to a frenzy of over-spending and over-exposure. What has this led to? Large organizations eating up more than the can chew. Like Northern Rock.

This downturn will be a smack on the face to those who have got too greedy. And those will be naturally the ones at the top end of the food chain. As people become more nervous of the situation and their job security in those organizations, I think more people will resort to embarking on their postponed hidden desires to branch out on their own.

After all there something uniquely beautiful and paradoxically uplifting about a bleak economic climate: there’s less to lose!

Data released by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (formerly known as the DTI) in 2006 has revealed some interesting statistics on Small Businesses.

From a total of 4.5 million enterprises in the beginning of 2006, a massive 99.3% were “small” (0-49 employees). Small businesses employed almost 7m people (28% of total workforce in employment) and accounted for 35% of total enterprise turnover.

These figures are staggering and reveal the importance of the Small Business sector to the UK economy. Equally staggering is the date on new start-ups per annum: upward of 400,000!

As a company catering for Small Businesses and start-ups, Peopleperhour.com has decided to strengthen that message by creating a “Special Feature” on Small Businesses using case studies from our site.

The feature will demonstrate what services these small business are requiring and how our site is helping them get them – affordably, quickly and easily.

If you are a Small Businesses registered with us and would like to be included in this feature and gain from the exposure and publicity it will gain, please send us your details on info@peopleperhour.com