By Daniel Hunter

A new survey released today (Wednesday) by Dell and Entrepreneur Country reveals that funding and lack of technical expertise are the biggest obstacles to launching a business in the UK.

With lack of access to finance found to be the overall greatest barrier to starting-up (33 percent), almost half of respondents (43 percent) to the survey, circulated to Entrepreneur Country’s user base comprised of UK entrepreneurs and business owners of all stages[i], cited friends and family as the key source of their business funding, over and above self-funding (20 percent)[ii], bank business loans (12 percent) and venture capital firms (9 percent).

But it is more a lack of access to funding, rather than a lack of understanding finance options, that is hindering businesses. While 27 percent of respondents indicated that they wished they had known more about how to access funding when starting their business, a desire to know more about how to accelerate and grow a business ranked much higher on their priority list (39 percent).

Understanding technology needs is also an area which is proving to be a challenge to those starting a business in the UK. While 60 percent of business owners recognise that IT investment is a worthwhile business strategy for enabling growth, 1 in 5 view a lack of technical expertise as their greatest hurdle, highlighting a demand for enhanced technology resources such as advice and education.

With respondents indicating cloud computing as a key technology trend this year amongst growing businesses (51 percent), followed by a rise in the implementation of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy (25 percent), it’s clear that growing businesses can benefit from advances in technology, and there is an opportunity for providers to offer greater learning resources and support.

Conducted between the 18th and 22nd of February 2013, the survey also generated the following key findings:

· 40 percent started a business because they wanted to be their own boss
· LinkedIn trumps the list of social media tools businesses could not live without (55 percent) with Twitter coming in second place (42 percent)[iii]
· Mobility and connectivity are integral to getting a business off-the-ground. The laptop is the single most useful business tool (88 percent), closely followed by the smartphone (81 percent)[iv]
· 35 percent believe this year will mark the erosion of the traditional 9-5, office-anchored working day
· 62 percent prefer to network face-to-face at events, with social media forming the second most popular channel (25 percent)

Sarah Shields, General Manager & Executive Director, Dell Consumer, Small and Medium Enterprises UK, said: “While it’s clear that businesses understand the impact of technology, we’ve seen clear indicators through our conversations with business decision makers that their lack of in-house expertise may be holding them back from fast growth, and the results of this survey are consistent with this feedback. It’s so important that we — as an end-to-end technology partner - enable growing businesses and entrepreneurs to scale their ideas and ambitions by allowing them to focus on their work, rather than worrying about finding the right technology solution.”

The survey was conducted as part of Dell’s partnership with Entrepreneur Country to jointly create a platform for business owners to reach likeminded individuals and put in place the resources that will ultimately help entrepreneurs and business leaders reach their goals.

Julie Meyer, Founder, Entrepreneur Country, added: “Since they form the backbone of our economy, it’s never been more important to support fast-growth businesses. This survey shines a spotlight on the continued needs of entrepreneurs in the early stages of business development and champions the successes of businesses that have got it right. Britain will continue to be shaped by entrepreneurs, as they are the builders of innovation, drivers of job creation, and producers of capital.”

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