It’s that time of year when pumpkins sprout up outside houses and kids take delight in dressing up. This Halloween we look at what frightens small business owners.
Lack of finance
The struggle to find finance to sustain and grow their business is one of the biggest fears of small business owners. Statistics indicate that this is with good reason! Gloomy results from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have revealed that only 40-45 per cent of start-ups live past their 5th year. On average figures imply that 80-90 per cent of SMEs die out because of cash flow issues resulting from late customer payments and the slow process of accessing finance. To add insult to injury overdraft facilities for SMEs have been withdrawn at a rate of £5 million per day since 2011.
Raising the public profile of your business isn’t easy and whilst some say all publicity is good publicity that’s not always true when it comes to business. One of business bosses’ biggest fears is bad publicity. Whether it be negative online reviews, uncomplimentary word-of-mouth or unwelcome media coverage all can have a detrimental effect on a business. Earlier this year bosses at a Tonbridge company fell fowl of bad publicity. Tecomak Environmental Services hit the headlines after staff accidentally attached comments to an email sent to an interview candidate, in which she was called “a home educated oddball” and it was suggested she was “worth an interview if only for a laugh” – ouch!
Uncertainty resulting from the economic and political landscape can be a major cause of concern for owners of the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses. It affects their ability to attract investment, export and grow. Recent research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found an increase in those looking to downsize, sell or close their businesses. The percentage of respondents looking for an exit strategy from their enterprise was found to be at the highest level (13%) since tracking began in 2012. Uncertainty was highlighted as a major factor.
Staff negativity can seriously affect productivity and cost small business owners money. This is perhaps the reason why, when questioned recently in research by Instantprint, 58 per cent of SME bosses said that having a positive attitude to work was the best trait an employee can have. Being a cynical or pessimistic presence in the office was regarded as being worse than bad manners, poor hygiene and being disorganised!