Seven small-business podcasts you should listen to in 2020
Thought podcasts were a thing of the past? Well, about 7.1m people in the UK listen to them each week1 (source: Ofcom), which is roughly one in eight and an increase of 24% over the past year (more than double over the past five years). Half of all listeners have joined “the podcast wave” in the past two years, with popularity continuing to grow.
Many of the best podcasts are aimed at start-ups and SMEs. They feature founders and leaders talking about their approach, as well as key challenges they’ve overcome. They provide inspiration and advice for other businesses, and their insight can also benefit brokers and professional SME advisers.
Podcasts are more convenient than live broadcasts. You can easily download them onto your computer, tablet or smart phone and listen to them straight away or whenever you want. You can listen to them on your commute or journey to and from business meetings, whether you use your own car or public transport. So, which podcasts are worth a listen in 2020 if you want to better understand UK SMEs?
1 The Small Business Sessions
Launched in 2005, Enterprise Nation has grown into a membership community of more than 75,000 SME founders and leaders. The Xero-sponsored Small Business Sessions is a “weekly podcast sharing the stories behind Britain’s brilliant small companies”. Almost 70 half-hour episodes are available, with a general theme of how to start and grow a small business. Recent topics include alternative finance, blogging for business, Making Tax Digital and choosing the right accountant. A wide range of start-ups and small-business leaders also share the secrets of their success.
2 Conversations of Inspiration
Conversations of Inspiration is a weekly podcast by Notonthehighstreet founder Holly Tucker, who chats to some of the UK’s most successful founders and entrepreneurs. They often have fascinating stories to tell when recounting how and why they started their business, while offering sound advice to those who want to follow in their footsteps. Previous guests include Karan Bilimoria (Cobra Beer), Mark Constantine (Lush), Sahar Hashemi (Coffee Republic) and Richard Reed (Innocent Drinks).
3 FT Start-up Stories
Although no new ones have been made since August 2018, you can still listen to 54 episodes, to hear author and Financial Times journalist, Jonathan Moules, speak to the most bona fide start-up experts of all – those who’ve been there and done it. They share their knowledge and experiences, which can help you to learn much about the challenges (financial and otherwise) people face when trying to start and launch a new business.
4 Secret Leaders
Almost 50 episodes are available of a podcast described as “a collection of contrasting, irreverent interviews with the high-flying CEOs and forward-thinking founders of some of the most successful businesses in the UK and US”. These include Martha Lane Fox (Lastminute.com), Nick Wheeler (Charles Tyrwhitt), Jo Malone, Nick Jenkins (Moonpig), David Buttress (Just Eat) and Karen Jones (Café Rouge).
5 How I Built This with Guy Raz
Guy Raz is a US-based journalist and radio host, described by The New York Times as “one of the most popular podcasters in history”. His podcasts are reported to have a combined monthly audience of 19.2m downloads. In these National Public Radio podcasts, Raz “dives into the stories behind some of the world’s best known companies”, weaving “a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists – and the movements they built.”
6 The Diary Of A CEO by Steven Bartlett
“A few years ago I was a broke, university dropout, living in one of the worst parts of the country, with nothing but a laptop and a dream,” remembers Bartlett. “Fast forward a few years, [and now] I’m the 26-year-old CEO of one of the UK’s fastest-growing companies. My world is intense, sometimes crazy, always challenging and unpredictable.” His Manchester-based global social media marketing agency, Social Chain, now turns £146m, has 500 staff and 80m followers.
7 She Means Business
Presented by Carrie Green, author of She Means Business and founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association (“An international hub for female entrepreneurs to get inspired and empowered”), the She Means Business podcast “brings together incredible stories of female entrepreneurs from around the world who are following their hearts, building the business of their dreams and creating the success and abundance they desire.” Now up to 45 episodes, Green also shares her own insight, after building two successful businesses with “no money, no business knowledge, but lots of ambition and determination.”
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