Assistance from family and friends crucial to early stages of business

The majority of micro-business owners in the UK have received hands-on assistance from their family members and friends when starting up, saving on average £1,036 in wages during this crucial period, research finds.

This equates to some £2.5 billion saved by British businesses during their start-up phase, according to new research by Vistaprint.

A third (30 per cent) of British micro-businesses receive voluntary assistance from at least two family members, while two in five (41 per cent) had three or more people contribute.

Typically, those helping out will work on average four and half hours a week voluntarily, although one in 20 (5 per cent) business owners have a generous family member working for free for 20 hours or more.

Organising the accounts is the top responsibility start-up business owners ask a friend or family member to help with (24 per cent), while other top duties include answering the phone and taking messages (20 per cent), general office admin (18 per cent) and giving out business advice and consultation (17 per cent).

Spouses and partners are the most likely people to assist (35 per cent), around one in five (19 per cent) like to get the children involved, while the third most likely assistant is a friend (15 per cent).

One in seven (14 per cent) micro-business owners express that their bond as a family strengthened during the time spent working together. A fifth (20 per cent) even go on to say their business would not have been a success without the help of family and friends.

More than two thirds (67 per cent) of the new generation of young entrepreneurs (aged 18-29) state they started their business so their families would be proud of them.

Richard Moody, Vistaprint UK marketing director says, ‘The vast majority of micro business owners are sole proprietors, and it is clear that the support and free labour devoted to them have benefited them both financially and on an emotional level.

‘A thousand pounds may not seem like a lot, but in the early stages of a business every saving is vital. From our study we have found that the average investment made into start up micro businesses is £15,951, highlighting how much the additional free assistance can help when saving money. And of course the feeling of being supported in your efforts by those close to you is absolutely priceless.’

Further reading on assistance from family and friends

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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