Up to 24% of SMEs may fail ahead of General Election without drastic change

SwitchMyBusiness.com, an energy compare and switch service for small businesses, has revealed the key pressures and needs of the ‘lifeblood’ of the economy – small business owners – revealing that almost 93% want drastic change as we enter election season. Many showed that on top of financial worries, their health suffers with convenience junk food (15%), stress (18%) and lack of sleep.

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Increased financial worries are creating more stress on SME owners

According to the survey, which questioned small businesses all over the UK, cashflow is the biggest problem facing small business leaders with 43% saying they are currently experiencing cashflow problems. A worrying 35% said they would look to shut down if life doesn’t get easier for small businesses and based on current bank balances, 24% said they could only survive 1 to 6 months into the future.

The findings reveal the true state of small businesses in the UK, which Prime Minister David Cameron has said are the ‘lifeblood’ of the economic recovery. Cameron puts the value of home-based businesses to the economy at £300 billion alone1, with small businesses (1-50 employees) adding in excess of £57 billion in tax revenue2.

But it’s not just finances, small business leaders are struggling with, friends, family and health are also being impacted with 1 in 10 business owners saying they have lost friends due to working too much. A further 38% are arguing with their partners due to stress and interestingly double the amount of women than men (16% vs. 8%) admit to working on their laptop during date nights with their partner.

As well as less sleep and more stress, 20% of small business owners admit they sacrifice their own health for their business, with 42% admitting they even forget to eat.

As a result of the small business findings, SwitchMyBusiness.com has created an election manifesto with key areas for the next government to focus on in the run up to election 2015.

Ivan McKeever, CEO SwitchMyBusiness.com commented, “The picture from UK small business owners is clear; they want change from the government and they want more help. Small businesses are the forgotten younger brother of the big corporates and we want them to have a voice and get it heard. This is why we’ve put together the small business manifesto so as we head into election ‘promise’ season, the political parties will stand up and take notice.”

Top small business worries:

  • Cashflow is biggest problem with 43% of those surveyed saying they are having cashflow problems
  • Being paid late is the second biggest problem for small businesses with (31%) saying it is causing problems
  • Utility bills are the third biggest problem for 25% of those surveyed
  • Cost of insurance is an issue for 21% of those surveyed
  • Workplace stress is impacting 18% of people’s businesses and its success
  • Lack of funding (14%) alongside ability to pay suppliers and cost of business rates

Small business manifesto: #whatbizwant

  • 34% want a reduction in business rates
  • 30% want an increase in funding and grants
  • 27% support higher tax free allowances for small businesses
  • 25% want harsher penalties for businesses that pay them late
  • 25% support an introduction of a loan scheme similar to student loans scheme with extra time before they need to pay it back
  • 22% want access to affordable superfast broadband in more areas of the UK
  • 21% want government help with utility bills
  • More help for small business in understanding, paying for and complying with HR laws and other legal regulations (21%)

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