UK small businesses reveal retention concerns

More than a third of small business owners in the UK have regular concerns over retaining existing customers, according to new research from Hitachi Capital.


Some 35% of business owners said they worry on a daily basis, while a third said the fears keep them awake at night.


The figures represent an increase from a year ago, when just under a quarter of businesses admitted to having concerns over retention.


Other trepidations listed by business owners included managing cash flows – named by 30% of respondents – as well as red tape and complying with regulations, highlighted as issues by 27% and 25% of bosses respectively.


Economic volatility was also viewed as a potential problem although the overall situation in the UK has been gradually improving for several years now.


Despite this, it has not stopped small businesses from becoming more concerned with the issues they face on a regular basis.


Of the issues identified in the study, some were found to be causing more anxiety than others, while none of the problems saw business owners less concerned about them now than they were a year ago.


For instance, while economic concerns increased by three percentage points, cash flow rose by eight with compliance and regulations up by nine points.


Red tape saw the highest growth in levels of concern from a year ago, increasing by 12 percentage points in that period.


The report highlights the constant challenges that are faced by small business owners and reveals that little is being done to alleviate their problems.


Business retention is clearly a major issue as it will ultimately impact on sales and business finances, especially if many customers cease operations with a particular firm.


Keeping one eye on the future and planning ahead can help to remedy the situation to an extent, but business owners should also look to ensure that extra finances are available in case something goes awry.


Insolvency practitioners may still be able to provide a solution even when things do go wrong, although it will often depend on the individual circumstances surrounding a company.


By Phil Smith


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