63% of SME leaders feel lonely in role – Starling Bank

63% of SME leaders feel lonely in role – Starling Bank

Research by Starling Bank has found that despite growth and record investment planned for 2022, small business owners struggle with loneliness, creativity and ideation.

Of the 1,046 business leaders surveyed by the challenger bank, 70% responded that they found it difficult to build new and innovative ideas on their own, while 68% noted that they want more advice from peers. As small businesses account for 61% of the UK employment, these figures indicate that frustration and a lack of support are potentially more wide reaching than previously known.

Mental health has been increasingly under the spotlight in the fintech sector, largely in the wake of ex Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield’s candid announcement that he would leave the bank, citing reasons including his mental health.

Anne Boden, CEO and founder at Starling Bank said: “As an entrepreneur myself, I’ve experienced the pressures of spinning multiple plates - it’s a lot to take on when you’re also trying to drive your business forward. I was flying solo when I first started Starling Bank, so asking others for advice and learning from them was invaluable.”

Positively, over two-thirds of respondents are confident for 2022, and small businesses are planning an average of 11% revenue growth over the next 12 months.

In light of their research, Starling Bank has launched an initiative to assist and support SMEs reach their full potential. The ‘Take Flight’ support package, will offer expert business guidance for all and a bursary of £5,000.00 for ten selected companies.

On the initiative, Starling Bank’s ‘panel of expert entrepreneurs’ shared their most critical advice to assist businesses:

Carol Vorderman, pilot, TV personality and founder of The Maths Factor: "It's very easy to grow and think, 'I'm going to take on more people.' But you really have to have the income to do that… Make an initial budget and then think about it. Then go through it again and ask yourself: Where can I save a little bit of money? Where can I make a little bit of money? That's how successful businesses operate. It's about the details.”

Chika Russel, founder and CEO of Chika’s Snacks: Sometimes people will look to one person - one investor, one shareholder, one employee - to make the difference to them and for them. And I've learned and I see it time and time again that it's a formula that doesn't work. Don't believe that anyone person can make the difference to you, it's got to be a collective effort."

Belinda Kirk, rower and founder of Explorers Connect: “Choosing to go outside your comfort zone in one area of your life can also empower you to go outside of your comfort zone in other areas of your life. It's not always comfortable - that's the point - but it is how we make memories and achieve our potential. When taking on a business challenge, don’t look at the whole thing in front of you. You don't look to the summit, you look to camp one. You don't look to the finish line, you look just a little way ahead.”

Claud Williams, executive coach and founder of Dream Nation: “The more human you can make your product or service, the better it will sell. Think about who you want your customers to be. What are all the different parts of identity? Gender, age, height, sexuality, race. Then try to represent that across your website in terms of your imagery and language.”

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