Growing Pains

Man Bites Dog developed economic and opinion research to demonstrate that, post-recession, the UK is a nation of “micropreneurs” and that micro is the “new norm” for UK businesses.

RSA Growing Pains White paper coverChallenge:

Our aim was to generate useful insights into the UK SME market to engage government, broker and business audiences, and to raise awareness of RSA in the UK national media as a champion of SMEs and an expert in supporting small businesses from inception through to growth.


The UK Government has two levers to support small business growth: increase the start-up rate or help our existing business stock to grow. We aimed to position RSA as champions of business growth by proving that the current focus on increasing the business “birth rate” was the wrong strategy.

We developed economic and opinion research to demonstrate that, post-recession, the UK is a nation of “micropreneurs” and that micro is the “new norm” for UK businesses, while the proportion of high-growth businesses is falling. The study revealed a brand new way of looking at small businesses, and a new key indicator of future growth prospects, making RSA stand out from its competitors.

Our research evidenced the impact of micropreneurship on job creation and economic growth, and revealed that more than half of new small businesses now don’t survive beyond five years. Our policy paper included regional and sector breakdowns, creating a clear call to action for better support, outlining policy needs and advising micro businesses on how to scale-up and manage their risk.

The idea was strategically aligned to RSA’s business priorities, supporting its new SME product suite and enabling it to grow and nurture new and existing broker relationships. We also mapped the idea onto the UK Government’s SME growth strategy, in order to further the debate amongst businesses and in the media, and to create policy-level insight to inform future legislative and regulatory support for small businesses. The study reached BIS and additional policy-level commentators and influencers, including UK management consultancies and business interest groups.

The study was one in a series of campaigns that have together successfully raised RSA’s profile amongst government, broker and business audiences as a thought leader and expert in small business management and growth issues, including ground-breaking study Valuable Assets that revealed the value of an entrepreneur to the UK economy and the regional and sectoral “hot spots” where entrepreneurial spirit appears to be alive and well.

RSA Growing Pains infographicImpact:

The campaign established RSA as a thought leader and lead commentator on small business growth issues, with subsequent requests for expert panel appearances demonstrating the high impact this campaign has had on RSA’s reputation and ability to nurture long-term relationships.

We secured extensive coverage in the UK national and business media including in The Times (x3), Daily Telegraph, Guardian (x2), Daily Mail, FT Adviser, This is Money, Huffington Post and the UK business, finance and trade media.