University of Nottingham (c)2005


Why a Smaller Businesses survey?

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Ninety-eight percent of the UK's businesses are small, and in economic terms it is these small and growing businesses that deliver the benefits. Yet it is big business that has all the influence. This is partly because information on big businesses is easier to compile, and partly because issues affecting them get instant and widespread publicity and are well represented in government.

By comparison, information about small businesses is harder to compile and is rarely given strong representation where it matters. Moreover, when the information is available, it often comes too late.

The UK Business Barometer changes this. It provides a simple mechanism enabling every kind of small business to have a direct and immediate voice. Decision-makers can consider current issues, and know how they are affecting small businesses as they happen, rather than waiting weeks or even months, by which time it may be too late to react.

The UK Business Barometer was originally developed as the East Midlands Business Barometer at the Institute for Enterprise and Innovation in the Nottingham University Business School by Professor Martin Binks and the Barometer Project Team. Click here to contact us.

For many years the business school has had close links with government bodies at local, regional and national levels, as well as with industry. It is ideally placed to ensure that the results and analyses from the Barometer reach those who can use them to best effect, in the.interest of small businesses.

All personal and company data is confidential and is protected by Nottingham University Business School.

How it works

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The survey is fully internet based, updating results in real-time. Each month, registered companies are asked to respond to an online questionnaire that takes approximately 2 minutes to complete. No postage or paper is involved.

Small businesses are asked for their views on a set of twelve questions. Some of these relate to the performance of the business, and are repeated month on month. Others reflect topical issues and areas of policy that affect small business.

Barometer participants are encouraged to highlight particular areas of concern, which may then be investigated in future surveys.

To register, firms are asked to provide brief details about their business such as age, size and location. This will be updated on an annual basis, although significant changes can be reported during the year.

All information collected is confidential, and results are used to pass on the views of Business to national and regional policy makers, and for further research.


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The UK Business Barometer provides a mechanism to enable every kind of small business to have a direct and immediate voice, on a regular basis, to local, regional and national government.

In addition, small businesses will be able to benchmark their own performance against national averages.

Other organisations can benefit. These include:

  • Support agencies such as the Small Business Services, Learning Skills Councils, Local Authorities and others, who will be able to target their resources more effectively according to the needs of local businesses

  • Universities, who will gain a better understanding of businesses' requirements, helping their graduates and aiding their research. This can then influence the way students are prepared for employment and the way technology is transferred into the private sector

  • Other organisations, such as trade associations and small business media, who will use the Barometer and the up-to-date information that it provides.

The more companies that participate, the better the quality of the results. So please register your business, and tell any colleagues who may also be able to benefit.