Starting A Business? Better Keep It In The Family.

  • British small businesses have saved over £2.5 billion thanks to the free help of their friends and family
  • Sorting the accounts and finance is the top responsibility that requires assistance
  • One in five say they owe their success to their family
  • The average investment made by a UK micro business starting up is £15,951

Infographic Final

Tuesday 9th June: Over half (52%) of micro business owners in the UK have received hands-on assistance from their family members and friends when starting up, saving on average £1,036 in wages during this crucial period. This equates to £2,590,000,000* saved by British businesses  during their start up phase, according to new research by Vistaprint, the leading provider of customisable marketing materials to millions of UK micro businesses.

A Labour of Love

A third (30%) of British micro businesses receive voluntary assistance from at least two family members, while two in five (41%) had three or more people contribute.

Typically, those helping out will work on average four and half hours a week voluntarily, although one in 20 (5%) business owners have a generous family member working for free for 20 hours or more. Organising the accounts is the top responsibility start-up business owners ask a friend or family member to help with (24%), while other top duties include answering the phone and taking messages (20%), general office admin (18%) and giving out business advice and consultation (17%).

Following the research, Vistaprint has launched an online interactive app on for micro business owners to discover how much the work their friends and family have assisted with is worth to their business in financial terms.

Keeping it in the Family

Spouses and partners are the most likely people to assist (35%), around one in five (19%) like to get the children involved whilst the third most likely assistant is a friend (15%).

One in seven (14%) micro business owners expressed that their bond as a family strengthened during the time spent working together. A fifth (20%) even went on to say their business would not have been a success without the help of family and friends. Over two thirds (67%) of the new generation of young entrepreneurs (aged 18-29) stated they started their business so their families would be proud of them.

Richard Moody, Vistaprint UK Marketing Director, said, “Having served millions of micro businesses, we know how important the support of loved ones is to them, but now we can see exactly how much that time is worth. The vast majority of micro business owners are sole proprietors, and it is clear that the support and free labour devoted to them have benefited them both financially and on an emotional level between individuals.”

Moody continued, “A thousand pounds may not seem like a lot, but in the early stages of a business every saving is vital. From our study we have found that the average investment made into start up micro businesses is £15,951, highlighting how much the additional free assistance can help when saving money. And of course the feeling of being supported in your efforts by those close to you is absolutely priceless.”

Most Popular Family Member and Friends to Assist with Micro Businesses

Most Common Responsibilities Given


For more information please contact Doug McPherson and Polly MacLennan at Frank PR: / 0207 693 6999

Or contact James Regal, PR Manager EU

Notes to Editors:

*There are 5 million micro businesses in the UK as of 2014, which is multiplied by the average saving for unpaid work in business (£1,036) and divided by the percentage of those who confirmed they had free assistance (52%). This equates to £2,590,000,000 saved across the UK.

Research into 300 UK micro business owners across the UK by Mortar London, May 2015. A UK micro business is defined by employing 10 or less people.