A new report has revealed that the number of scale-up businesses in the UK is rising fast, and almost half have been founded by people aged 34 and under.
Dream bigger: The scale-up moment, a report from accountancy, tax and investment management group Smith & Williamson found that the number of businesses that are successfully scaling up increased by 12% in 2016, partly because of targeted support for growing businesses.
There were 35,210 scale-ups, defined as companies that increase their revenues or staff numbers by 20% over three years, in 2016, up from 31,440 the year before (SUI).
The study explores what traits these highly successful businesses and their founders share. One key conclusion is that their attitude towards tech and innovation is giving them an edge. This perhaps gives a clue as to why younger entrepreneurs, who have grown up as digital natives, are flourishing in today’s business environment.
Half (50%) of high-growth companies say tech advances have been critical to their growth, compared to just 18% of slower-growth firms. More than a third (34%) also believe that having an innovative business plan has been key to their success. This falls to a quarter (27%) among non-scale-ups, and to 21% among micro-companies, employing ten or less people.
John Morris, scale-up lead at Smith & Williamson, said: “It’s been fascinating to gain insight into how such extremely successful companies think and feel. We have uncovered considerable differences between scale-ups and the rest of the business community, in both mentality and approach. But, 91% of businesses want to grow further, and I am convinced almost any of them can emulate scale-up business success - provided they have the right growth toolkit.
“Scale-ups are more optimistic, more bullish and consequently less risk averse. They embrace technology and innovation, using it to their advantage. They are eager for growth and foster a culture of learning and openness, while keeping a close eye on the competition. These traits need not be exclusive to high-growth businesses; any business leader daring to dream bigger can use them as the building blocks for future growth.”
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