Over half of UK small businesses have adapted to survive the recession
A new survey by savings and investments group Aviva shows that over half of UK small businesses have actively adapted their business in order to survive the recession. The research was conducted with 500 UK SME owners in August and September 2009.
Key findings show that 56% of respondents had diversified their business by way of keeping afloat. New products or services, opening at weekends, trading for longer hours and targeting new customer groups were among the most common actions taken by small businesses.
David Bruce, commercial product manager at Aviva, says:
“Britain’s small business community remains entrepreneurial, creative and opportunist at heart, with an innate ability to be both flexible and versatile. The ability to anticipate and adapt to the changing environment is key for any successful business, and business owners are clearly leading the way in this regard.”
Other methods included promotions, increased discounts, a reduction in staff pay, benefits or hours, and making redundancies.
The survey also threw light on the fact that some companies may be trading illegally. Over 12% of respondents reportedly admitted that they don’t have any commercial insurance in place. It’s a legal requirement that every business has liability insurance, and with an estimated 4.7 million SMEs in the UK, Aviva claim that around 560,000 businesses are at risk of financial loss should a disaster strike.
Commenting on these more negative issues, David Bruce says:
“It is worrying to see how many businesses have admitted they have no insurance at all. If one of your staff, or a customer, has an accident at work it is unlikely you would be able to pay out a claim that could run into thousands of pounds yourself. Protecting what you’ve already got and what you’re trying to build for the future should be fundamental for any conscientious business owner.”
Further results from the survey show that 69% of SMEs have found cash flow their toughest business challenge in 2009, while 38% describe it as the aspect of their business that worried them most.
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