Last week saw the latest results from the Sage Business Index released. Over the last few weeks we have been making some suggestions as to what we thought the new results would highlight. We wanted to take the opportunity to have a look at these predictions, and also take a closer look at the results themselves and get your thoughts on them.
In ‘Lending for SMBs – a well oiled machine’ we discussed the proposed lending scheme in the UK for SMBs and whether this was enough to stimulate the growth of new business and expansion of existing small and medium businesses.
When asked about such assistance schemes as the one we referenced in the UK the results showed that, worldwide only 19% felt that such special assistance schemes were needed. However it is worth noting that, 48% of Singaporean respondents saw assistance being key, raising the questions of what is Singapore doing differently? Is it a different mindset when it comes to come governmental assistance, seeing this as necessary and welcomed or is there something other countries can learn from their schemes and programmes?
When it comes to the current level of assistance governments provide, the results are clear with 76% of respondents worldwide feeling their respective governments are not doing enough to support them – slightly skewed by lower than average responses from Portugal, Poland and Spain currently deeply embroiled in the Eurozone crisis, but still a large proportion of respondents unhappy with the current situation. Coupled with almost a third of businesses marking access to capital and funding as one of their least favourite aspects of doing business, increasing slightly from 22% from September 2011.
Digging a little deeper, and when asked what governments should be doing to support small and medium businesses, the top answers were centred on reductions, in both bureaucracy (43%) and business tax (36%), whilst also placing a great deal of value on the opportunities for skills development (31%). This suggests businesses wan their focus to be on doing what they do best, and reduce the governmental paperwork and prescribed procedure they need to follow to a minimum and may feel this is a barrier to growing quicker, this is something Simone from Mmmm discusses in our video here and we discussed in our post here
What do you think? Do you seem to spend your time away from customers, and filling in form after form? What would you change if you had the opportunity?
Increasingly businesses are relying on their own ingenuity and adaptability to continue to grow, 70% have made changes to their businesses, 33% have expanded into new markets or products to increase their revenue opportunities whereas 50% have cut operational costs. Surprisingly only 22% have had to cut staff numbers, and even more positively 25% of businesses actually increased staffing in the same period. Matched with the confidence businesses feel about their ability to grow and how the last six months have gone for them, we begin to see a much more positive picture; 31% of worldwide respondents have seen their revenue increase, along with 32% seeing their revenue hold steady, giving a majority who have seen no reduction in revenue.
The Sage Business Index aims to give a snapshot of the business landscape for small and medium businesses across 15 countries we work with. Do you agree with the results or is there something else you think can drive businesses to be successful? Or is it as the results suggest, just about letting businesses getting on with what they do best and reduce everything outside of this to as minimal as possible?