Micro businesses relying on personal support

Nearly two thirds of businesses with fewer than 10 employees rely on support from friends and family, research by Lloyds Bank Insurance has found.

The survey of decision makers in some of the UK’s smallest businesses also shows that friends or relatives put in an average of 6 hours a week. Whilst 41% of these businesses pay their personal support networks an average salary of £14 an hour, over half (51%) said that the support they receive is currently unpaid.

Lloyds puts the value of this “family support economy” at around £64.3 million a week.
This kind of personal support has a range of benefits for micro businesses, with 84% of those surveyed reporting a positive impact.

Benefits included:

  • increasing revenue (13%)
  • providing emotional support (30%)
  • making the business more manageable (35%)
  • increasing productivity (25%).

Overall, just under a quarter of those surveyed (24%) said that the support they received was crucial to the continued running of their business.

There is also a wide variety in the tasks that friends and family are assisting businesses with.

Some of those listed in the survey were:

  • helping with childcare (8%)
  • managing social media (10%)
  • running errands (29%)
  • completing practical tasks (34%)
  • helping with business decisions (40%).

Damien McGarrigle, head of business insurance at Lloyds Bank Insurance, said:

“Starting up and running a business can be all-consuming, with family and friends often rallying around small business owners to ensure they are successful.

“However, microbusiness owners cannot solely rely on personal contacts to ensure everything runs smoothly.”