SMEs express concerns over cost of business

High business rates and the cost of utilities are the biggest concerns for SMEs in the UK, according to a recent study.


Both aspects can have a considerable impact upon business finances and nearly 50% of SMEs questioned in a poll said they saw high business rates as a burden.


The key point from the poll was the fact that so many small companies highlighted the cost of doing business as a concern.


The Forum of Private Businesses carried out the study and also found that the growing costs of utilities were keeping company owners awake at night.


This places further emphasis on the efforts of companies to save money on energy costs as there are ways of reducing bills and boosting sustainability.


The Head of Policy at the Forum, Alexander Jackman, has now said it is time to send a clear message to the government about what needs to be done.


 “We must build on the success of deregulation measures introduced and to really push on minimising the impact of some of the big employment law reforms currently in progress,” he said.


“A focus on creating stability of regulation for small businesses would be enormously helpful.”


Conquering the same old problems


The major issues experienced by SMEs revolved around time, money and expertise with a lack of these factors leading to corporate recovery in many cases.


In order to turn around a business, certain aspects of how it is run need to be changed, which could include downsizing or altering cash flows to free up funding elsewhere.


However, the overall backdrop is not entirely negative, as 85% of forum members are positive about the year ahead.


One third expected to increase their workforce, while 15% will increase the number of hours their employees work in order to cope with increasing demand.


The main focus for 2014 would be on developing the customer base, with around 60% of businesses taking on this approach.


Improving customer service and developing new products were also listed as key points of focus for the coming year.


By Phil Smith


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