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Confidence Index Shows UK’s Micro Businesses Bullish About the Year Ahead

May 24, 2012

LONDON, May 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ –

Revenues Growing or Stable for Majority and Almost 1 in 5 Looking to Recruit

Despite the Eurozone crisis, and economic doom and gloom at home, the inaugural
Vistaprint [http://www.vistaprint.co.uk ] Micro Business Confidence Index paints an
optimistic picture of how Britain’s micro businesses are performing. 72% of the 1,010
respondents from micro businesses reported revenues either higher than last year (33%) or
the same (39%) in the last six months, while only 16% said that they were less optimistic
than last year.

(Photo:
http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120524/533485 )

95% of UK businesses can be described as micro businesses[1], having less than ten
employees and GBP1.7m in revenues. They account for nearly one fifth of the UK economy,
turning over more than GBP613,266 million each year[2]. The launch of the Vistaprint
Confidence Index coincides with major enhancements to Vistaprint’s flagship business card
[http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/free-business-cards.aspx ] offering.

East Anglian micro businesses are the most confident for the year ahead, while
companies in the Midlands are the least confident. In the last six months, Wales has seen
the greatest increase in revenues (38%) closely followed by the North West (37%). Further
highlighting the confidence in the micro business sector is that almost 1 in 5 (17%) of
those questioned will be looking to recruit in the next 12 months. If only half of these
intentions become reality, more than 360,000 jobs[3] will be created.

Commenting on the index results, Richard Moody, Director, Vistaprint, UK and Ireland
said; “These figures show that micro businesses are an often overlooked and
under-appreciated part of the UK economy. Regulations and employment drivers are usually
focused on larger businesses, but the first Vistaprint Micro Business Confidence Index
shows how important a role they play in fuelling growth in the economy. This first
dedicated effort to listen to the micro business sector demonstrates that these businesses
need to be supported and nurtured if we want to create the economy growth we all need.”

Eurozone impact

Despite the growing economic storm clouds in the Eurozone, less than a third of
respondents (29%) have been negatively impacted by problems with the single currency.
Unsurprisingly this rises in London to 39% and in Northern Ireland to 38.5% due to the
higher proportion of European trading in these regions. The lowest impact has been felt by
the North East and East Anglia with only 15% and 16% respectively stating that the
Eurozone crisis has had a negative impact.

Government needs to provide more support say businesses

The impact the Government has on micro businesses is significant with only 5.3% of
respondents saying that it does enough to support them. While this rises to 9% in London,
in East Anglia less than 1% of micro-businesses felt they received enough support from
Government. Moreover, 1 in 5 (19%) identified bureaucracy and red tape as one of the top
three biggest challenges faced by their business currently. More than two thirds said they
saw tax breaks as one of the top three things needed for micro businesses to thrive.

“Micro businesses are subject to the same laws as companies with up to 250 employees
which have significantly larger budgets and resources. Without legislation and policy that
takes into account businesses with less than 10 people, micro businesses in the UK believe
they will be held back from expanding and recruiting. With redundancies from large
companies growing, many experienced and skilled former employees are taking the leap to
start up on their own, and based on the results of our survey, they clearly believe that
more support from the government could increase their chances to succeed,” continued
Moody.

Tax laws hindering growth

Maybe not unsurprisingly, 27% of micro businesses said that tax laws are the most
difficult legislation they have to deal with followed by health and safety (13%) and
employment (10%). Tax laws are listed as the most difficult in the majority of regions
with a significant rise to 40% in London. In Wales (21.5%) and Northern Ireland (31%),
insurance laws pose the most problems, while in the South West (19%) it is health and
safety laws.

Other barriers to growth

Micro businesses also struggle with to whom to turn for advice – more than 1 in 3
(39%) rely on friends and family, 28%their accountants and 24% business websites. Most
often the biggest challenge (32%) faced by micro businesses is acquiring new customers.
According to the Confidence Index, 80% are looking to grow their client base. Despite the
optimistic outlook and the intention to grow, respondents say they are facing challenges
such as financing growth, with 36% citing the difficulty of getting loans as the reason
behind their inability to secure new customers.

Social media and Facebook will play an increasing role (37%) in the marketing mix of
micro businesses, along with online advertising (31%) and door drops, flyers and posters
(30%). The uptake in social media is probably due to the fact that many micro businesses
are investigating all the avenues available to them as a third of respondents believe they
are unable to grow as they aren’t able to market themselves effectively.

“It is encouraging to see so many micro businesses are looking to grow and acquire new
customers but they need access to low cost marketing tools and services that are effective
in their industry in order to do this. In companies this size it is not surprising that
they don’t have the marketing expertise in house to help promote their businesses or even
the budgets to use external suppliers. It is for this reason that we are helping them
raise their profile by enhancing micro businesses’ number one marketing tool, the business
card [http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/vp/gateway.aspx?S=2303355471 ] at no extra cost to
them,” commented Moody.

Earlier this month, Vistaprint announced a significant upgrade in paper stock for its
standard and premium business cards [http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/free-business-cards.aspx
], with no additional cost to consumers. Vistaprint also introduced easy to use logo
creation tools, to allow micro businesses to create a professional image without the
associated cost of hiring a designer. The increased weight of the business card stock will
result in a 40 percent heavier standard card, ensuring a sturdier feel and a new
smoothness that will result in a higher print quality and color vibrancy across both sets
of cards.

Vistaprint’s standard business card will now be printed on 300gsm paper stock.
Customers can upgrade as they always have to a premium business card stock, which is now
printed on 350gsm paper stock. All other features, including image uploads, custom
templates, backside printing and options like matte finish will be available on the
upgraded stock. There are also thousands of design templates
[http://www.vistaprint.co.uk/business-cards.aspx ] to choose from.

Methodology

The research was carried out in May 2012 with 1,010 of Vistaprint’s UK customers by
Vistaprint’s customer research team. All 1,010 respondents are either owners of or
employees of businesses with less than 10 employees.

The regional split in terms of respondents is as follows:

        - London - 10.77%
        - South East - 18.53%
        - South West - 12.08%
        - East Anglia - 8.05%
        - Midlands - 15.23%
        - North West - 12.17%
        - North East - 7.54%
        - Scotland - 8.85%
        - Wales - 4.40%
        - Northern Ireland - 2.38%

While the Micro Business Confidence Indexoffers insight about the sentiment of micro
businesses generally, it does not indicate or represent changes in Vistaprint’s business
results for any period.

About Vistaprint

Vistaprint N.V. (Nasdaq:VPRT) empowers more than 13 million micro businesses and
consumers annually with affordable, professional options to make an impression. With a
unique business model supported by proprietary technologies, high-volume production
facilities, and direct marketing expertise, Vistaprint offers a wide variety of products
and services that micro businesses can use to expand their business. A global company,
Vistaprint employs over 3,600 people, operates more than 25 localised websites globally
and ships to more than 130 countries around the world. Vistaprint’s broad range of
products and services are easy to access online, 24 hours a day at

http://www.vistaprint.co.uk

[http://cts.businesswire.com/ct/CT?id=smartlink&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vistaprint.com&esheet=50117361&lan=en-US&anchor=www.vistaprint.com&index=1&md5=4570cea07a2ab565890d302865ca5ad6 ]
.

Vistaprint, the Vistaprint logo and Make an Impression are trademarks of Vistaprint
N.V. or its subsidiaries. All other brand and product names appearing on this announcement
may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

1. 95% of the 4.8m enterprises in the UK are micro businesses according to the Office
for National Statistics
[http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]

2. GBP613,266 million is generated by micro businesses in the UK which accounts for
18.7% of the GBP3,277,607 million turnover generated by the whole economy according to the
Office for National Statistics
[http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]

3. There are 4,384,570 micro businesses in the UK according to the Office for National
Statistics [http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/business-population-estimates ]. 17%
recruiting means 745,377 jobs

        Sarah Wilkinson / Richard Houghton
        Aspect Consulting
        +44-207-307-1997 / +44-207-307-1990
        sarah@aspectconsulting.eu / richard@aspectconsulting.eu


    Photo: 

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120524/533485

SOURCE Vistaprint N.V.


Source: PR Newswire