While the staff matching steps up a gear this week, we have kicked off an important research commission which is to look at the experience of micro-enterprises as consumers. Richard from Corona Energy left a comment on this blog in August, suggesting we be open to small business. The answer is yes, we are – our Extra Help Unit will serve enterprises that are vulnerable. But alongside this, we are commissioning what I think will turn out to be ground-breaking research that looks at micro-enterprises as consumers.
I think of micro-enterprises as kitchen table businesses, learning from my time as a patron of the National Federation of Enterprise Agencies. In the media, business is equated with ‘big business’, or small business indeed which can still cover firms with staff of a couple of hundred. The structure of business in the UK is in fact like a feudal structure, with the largest number of firms at the level of least employees. These are consumers of services and often highly dependent on them, like banking, where they don’t traditionally get the best deal, through to post and energy. In a world of eBay and user-generated content, who consumes and who produces is starting to blur anyway, so the answers from this landmark research should be of very wide benefit and will inform our campaigning.