In a climate of constant development and technological change, it’s no wonder that over 2.5 million business owners are worried about the future of their companies. A recent study from Business Rewired reveals that on average, SME owners tend to put £12,000 of their own personal finances into their business. With the stakes so high, results show that one in three SME owners have had their mental health affected by their business concerns, and on average work an extra 36 hours per month in addition to their regular working day.
Late payments in turbulent times
Over half of SME owners expressed their deepest worry was waiting for late payments from clients, with two in five SME owners considering the current monthly payment model outdated and in need of an upgrade. Report contributor Emma Gannon outlines in the report how this payment model is ‘unfair’ and allows larger firms to withhold payment from smaller clients. Statistics from company Xero show that SME owners can expect to be waiting for over £20,000 in overdue payment on a given day, and may wait up to a fortnight for this value to be paid.
Employee productivity and retention
Many of the top concerns for SME owners were related to employee productivity, retention and annual leave. Nearly a third of business owners mentioned that the pressure to stay productive was a concern, while between 20-25% of the highest-ranked concerns revolved around recruiting and retaining top-level talent. In the current climate of job-hopping, it’s unsurprising that SME owners find it challenging to maintain and engage staff.
A positive future
Although there has been an ever-increasing amount of pressure on business owners, the report creators highlight that the future will be positive for SME entrepreneurs. With the UK government looking to invest £40 million into 5G, we will never be more connected, removing frustrating delays caused by patchy internet issues. By AI automating basic tasks, we can also remove a heavy amount of admin from a business owner’s daily workload, and reduce the current high working hours put in by SME owners to keep their businesses running. The future looks bright for our SME business climate.
A new workforce
Potentially the biggest benefit of improved connectivity will be the added element of human interaction. With wider and more versatile communication tools like WhatsApp and Slack, we can interact with teams across the globe in increasingly faster times. This flexibility would increase the capabilities of our workforce, with a mix of consultants, contractors, office and remote workers scattered across the world, allowing us to access time zones 24/7 without just one business owner putting in the overtime.
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