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27 & 28 MARCH 2019

ExCeL LONDON

Micro businesses and SMEs Continue To Thrive

The ICG is a membership organisation of over 400 micro market research businesses in the UK and abroad. It supports its members through work opportunities, training and advice, enabling them to flourish within their respective markets.

Micro businesses more broadly are flourishing, fuelling the business economy: our members reflect this trend.

January 2017 saw a record 5.7m private sector businesses in the UK. Small businesses accounted for 99.5% of business in every main industry sector, 99.3% of all private sector business, 60% of all private sector employment and 51% of all private sector turnover.

They are also growing in importance. Small businesses have seen sustained growth since 2000, 89% of this increase is through non-employing businesses. There are over 5 million microbusinesses and 4.9 million self-employed people in the UK (that’s 1 in 7 of the working population). Whilst traditionally self-employment might have been the territory of the skilled trades, many are now professionals working as micro businesses, freelancers or consultants. Of those 4.9 million self-employed, nearly half are managers/directors, senior officials, professionals or in technical, administrative and secretarial support roles.

Within the market research and insight worlds, according to the ONS stats, 74% of VAT and or PAYE registered market research and opinion-polling companies are micro-businesses. And that doesn’t include all the Insight businesses that are not registered for VAT or PAYE.

So why are so many senior people in our industry self-employed or in micro-businesses? Simply, it’s because they are very good at what they do. They have built strong reputations and client bases and neither need nor want the benefits a company can offer. We would  also suggest that by nature they are strong and independent thinkers.

The advantages of using these small business people are numerous. They have freedom to innovate and change. They are described as “an army of innovators that are ambitious and keen to grow/help/make a difference”. They are prepared to take more risks (they have less to lose), they can look out for new things and try them out at low cost.

They also adapt quickly, can react to client needs in a very direct and personal way, there is no set way of doing things and bespoke is much easier when you are smaller.

Additionally, they tend to be effective time-managers and can also be more flexible and creative with costs. In the end, the overheads are lower and clients tend to be nurtured as investments.

Being small means people are highly involved in projects. Typically there is end to end management by the owner or director of the micro business, they are more visible and accessible to clients and often provide a more personal ongoing service.


The ICG offers opportunities to collaborate with experts, the website has a match function, enabling clients to search for specific areas of expertise. Within the ICG we have a e-group that allows members to reach out for those with specific talents beyond their own skills set. But equally it has full global reach, 24 languages spoken within the ICG, and all areas of the world covered.

Why don’t you engage with us today?

www.theicg.co.uk