Are you a Micro or Small Business and why does it matter?

There are three types of businesses in the UK that are defined by their structure, turnover and number of employees. Micro Business, Small Business and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME). 

We have worked with all these categories and we are defined as a ‘micro business’ ourselves. However, our main customer base are classed as Micro Business and Small Businesses and that is why we have the most experience of working for these types of companies.

Since the pandemic there have been huge challenges that businesses have had to deal with. Business owners have had to reinvent themselves and find new ways to make profit and find opportunities. Websites are a key tool in driving change and reaching new markets. There are so many factors that contribute to a successful business and having a solid digital marketing strategy is crucial to success. That strategy will include websites, social media,

, SEO, Paid advertising.

As of October 2023, there are around 5.6 million private sector businesses (up 0.8%, or 54,000, from the previous year).1

Micro Business

Micro businesses are the smallest type of enterprise, often operated by one individual or a small team. These businesses typically have minimal capital investment, limited revenue, and a small number of employees, if any. Micro businesses can include freelancers, sole traders, and small-scale startups. They often operate in niche markets and focus on providing specialised products or services. Examples of micro businesses include independent consultants, online sellers, freelance writers, and local artisans.

Micro businesses often rely heavily on the internet to establish and grow their presence. They use various online platforms and tools to market their products or services, connect with customers, and manage their operations. For instance:

  • Online Presence: Micro businesses typically have a website or utilise social media platforms to showcase their offerings and reach potential customers.
  • E-commerce: Many micro businesses operate online stores or sell their products through third-party e-commerce platforms like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon.
  • Digital Marketing: Micro businesses leverage digital marketing techniques such as social media advertising, email marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO) to attract customers and drive sales.
  • Remote Work: As small teams or sole proprietors, micro businesses often use internet-based communication tools like email, video conferencing, and project management platforms to collaborate with clients and partners remotely.

Small Business

Small businesses are slightly larger than micro businesses and may have a few more employees and higher revenue. While still independently owned and operated, small businesses have more established operations and may serve a broader customer base. Small businesses can operate in various sectors, including retail, hospitality, professional services, and manufacturing. They play a crucial role in local economies, contributing to job creation and community development. Examples of small businesses include family-owned restaurants, boutique shops, accounting firms, and small-scale manufacturers.

Small businesses expand their online presence and leverage digital tools to streamline their operations and enhance customer engagement. Here’s how they utilise the internet:

  • Enhanced Website: Small businesses invest in more robust websites with advanced features such as online booking systems, customer portals, and e-commerce capabilities.
  • Social Media Marketing: They use social media platforms not only for brand promotion but also for customer engagement, community building, and gathering feedback.
  • E-commerce Integration: Small businesses increasingly integrate e-commerce functionality into their websites, allowing customers to purchase products or services directly online.
  • Online Advertising: Small businesses allocate budgets for online advertising campaigns on platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads to target specific audiences and drive traffic to their websites.
  • Cloud-Based Tools: Small businesses utilise cloud-based software solutions for various functions such as accounting, inventory management, customer relationship management (CRM), and project collaboration.

Total SME employment in 2023 was 16.7 million (around 61% of all private sector jobs)

Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) occupy the middle ground between small businesses and large corporations. These businesses have more substantial resources, including higher revenue, a larger workforce, and more extensive operations. SMEs often have multiple departments or divisions and may operate across multiple locations or regions. While still independently owned and operated, SMEs have a more formal organisational structure and may require more sophisticated management practices. They are key drivers of economic growth and innovation, contributing significantly to job creation and market competition. Examples of SMEs include regional retail chains, mid-sized technology firms, engineering consultancies, and specialised manufacturing companies.

SMEs leverage the internet to scale their operations, expand their market reach, and optimise their business processes. Their online strategies include:

  • Advanced E-commerce: SMEs often operate sophisticated e-commerce platforms with advanced features such as personalised product recommendations, subscription services, and multi-channel sales integration.
  • Data Analytics: SMEs utilise web analytics tools to track website performance, monitor customer behaviour, and make data-driven decisions to optimize their online presence and marketing efforts.
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): Many SMEs implement cloud-based ERP systems to streamline their business processes, including inventory management, order processing, accounting, and human resources.
  • Global Expansion: With the internet, SMEs can easily expand their market reach beyond local or regional boundaries, targeting international customers through online sales channels and digital marketing campaigns.
  • Cybersecurity Measures: Recognizing the importance of cybersecurity, SMEs invest in robust security measures to protect their online assets, customer data, and sensitive information from cyber threats and data breaches.

Key Differences

The primary differences between micro businesses, small businesses, and SMEs lie in their size, scale of operations, and organisational complexity. Micro businesses are the smallest and simplest type of enterprise, often operated by a single individual or a small team with minimal resources. Small businesses are slightly larger and more established, with a broader customer base and higher revenue. SMEs, on the other hand, are more substantial and more complex, with a larger workforce, higher revenue, and more extensive operations. While each type of business has its unique characteristics and challenges, they all play important roles in driving economic growth and fostering entrepreneurship.

5 of our clients to follow

These 5 business all fall into the category of Micro Business or Small Businesses. They have been or are still customer of ours so take a look and see what different services they offer.

Nathalie Crouch Photography – Wedding Photographer

Play Innovation – Playground Design & Installation

MCS Certified – Renewable Energy Standards

Chect – Childhood Eye Cancer Trust

Britmovie Tours – Tour Operator

  1. House of Commons Library ↩︎