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Life begins at 50 for entrepreneurs
by Susie Hughes at 09:47 06/06/14 (News on Business)
Many of the owner-managers of the UK’s fastest growing small businesses are 50 years old and older, shattering perceptions of young entrepreneurs being the chief engineers of SME success stories.
Key findings from the Business Growth Programme (BGP) at Cranfield School of Management include:
  • 54 per cent of the owner-managers surveyed were 50-plus, while only two per cent were 30 or younger
  • The performances of these businesses are phenomenal with the average business growing revenues by 19 per cent and employment creation by 21 per cent
  • These businesses have grown their revenues over three and a half times faster than GDP growth: 11.5 per cent compared to 3.1 per cent
  • They have created jobs at a rate of over seven times faster than that of the UK economy
  • The average forecast for revenue growth over the coming year is 22 per cent, whilst that for profit growth is 29 per cent, against predicted UK GDP growth of 3.6 per cent
  • Employment creation is expected to continue with pace at a rate of 10 per cent growth and a 16 per cent rise in exports is predicted
  • Interestingly, these predominantly older entrepreneurs also experienced a much higher, 47 per cent, growth in profits over revenue over the 12 month period, indicating the success that these businesses are having in growing margins as well as revenues. This high margin growth also illustrates the robustness of the high performance
    manifested by these businesses.

Exceptional
The results indicate that the entrepreneurial economy expects a big uplift in business performance and the economy over the next year. Interestingly, those surveyed said that the main drivers of this growth are not a boost from the economic recovery but a focus on core managerial and leadership activities. The top five drivers of business performance are senior management actions such as vision, strategy, senior leadership, innovation, operational efficiency, and sales and marketing.

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Professor Andrew Burke from Cranfield said: “The findings of this survey fascinate us both as academics and as business experts. This first business barometer of owner managers form Cranfield’s BGP programme reveals a much more diverse high performance entrepreneurial base in the UK economy than previously imagined, with most entrepreneurs over 50 and running businesses right across the economy’s industrial base.

"The performance of these businesses over the last year has been exceptional and their expected performance over the next 12 months is expected to continue at
this impressive level. The results indicate that Britain’s entrepreneurial economy will help ensure a broad based recovery across many industries. It will lead in job creation in the economy and make major gains in export growth which will help our balance of trade.

"The BGP enables owner-managers to successfully apply management and business theories to their own companies. The owner-managers surveyed here are telling
us that their investment in knowledge has really paid off, and is driving the exceptional performances seen by their businesses. They do not feel reliant on the macro economy but are driving their businesses through managerial techniques, which enable self-determination.

"Overall, the results indicate that Britain’s ambitious entrepreneurial economy is in rude health.”

The findings were reflected in actual case studies. Martyn Curley of Bidwriting.com, a professional bid writing and consultancy company, said: “Bidwriting.com is currently running 30% up on last year and we are increasing our team numbers by 30 per cent. We are also anticipating record profits.

"One of the advantages of being 50 plus is that we have come through several previous recessions. Those 'Lessons Learnt' have proved invaluable in growing the business. We are very focused and fully understand both our market and what our customers want."

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2014

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