Business Pressure Points Report

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Building on the advent of our new npower Business brand, we’ve commissioned a report which assesses the confidence and challenges for the UKs SMEs. This UK-wide report, our first using our new name, gives us a comprehensive survey of the hopes and fears of SMEs. This research helps us to better understand our customers and helps us to better serve and gauge business confidence, and assess their preparedness for all the potential problems that the next 12 months might throw at our customer and SMEs in general.

This independent research, undertaken on our behalf by YouGov, covers more than 1,000 SME decision-makers across Britain, and focuses on firms in the manufacturing, retail, hospitality and leisure, and business services sectors, representing a broad range of industries.

The report looks at the most pressing business issues affecting businesses today; from their primary business concerns such as talent acquisition, Government red tape and energy costs, to expectations of turnover and salary growth, and the measures that they think the Government could undertake to promote their business operations and environment.

So what has the research essentially found?

  • Increasing confidence

We’ve found encouraging confidence among British SMEs, with significant numbers predicting to grow their workforces and raise salaries – a clear indication of a strengthening economy from the companies that make up 99% of all UK enterprises.

  • Some SMES have significant concerns

SME businesses are worried about hiring and retaining staff members, especially those with the digital skills that are vital for businesses to connect with customers today. More than six years after the credit crunch, SMEs are still complaining about a lack of bank lending, while energy costs and red tape are other key concerns. They also have a very clear ‘wish list’ for policymakers, such as tightening legislation against late payments and making it easier to apply for public sector contracts.

  • Some elements are out of the control of SMEs

Every SME owner knows that there will be elements outside of their control, from macro-economic trends to a bad spell of weather that keeps customers away. However, there is much that the SME community can do to raise awareness of the particular pain points that they face. By acting in concert and raising their voices, SMEs can exert significant pressure on those – whether in Government on industry – that can introduce the necessary measures to smooth the path of business.

The report has been issued to journalists from a wide range of media, including national, regional, trade and online, so don’t forgot to look out for coverage about the report in the media

Jason Scagell, Director of npower Business said: “While we’ve seen a clear acknowledgement of the contribution that SMEs make to UK plc in last year’s Autumn Statement as well as through initiatives like Small Business Saturday, this study highlights that there is still some way to go before SMEs can honestly say that they are performing at the level they would like. These businesses are often described as the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s obviously vital that they get the support they need to develop and grow.”

Getting to know and understand our SME customers is only one way we’re making business energy better. See all >

To download the report, click here.

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