SMEs struggling to keep on top of today’s challenges

A new study suggests that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are struggling to come to terms with a number of big challenges and uncertainties at the present time – and could use a helping hand.
The research, which was carried out by data analytics company Dun & Bradstreet, reveals that late payments, recruitment woes, data protection complications and the race to keep up-to-speed with the latest technology are all factors weighing heavily on small businesses at the present time.
These issues, coupled with uncertainty surrounding Britain’s future relationship with the European Union (EU), have resulted in a sharp fall in overall business confidence, the report reveals.
It claims that SME confidence in future financial success has fallen by 19 per cent year-on-year, as 35 per cent of businesses continue to struggle with recruitment, 31 per cent are left chasing late payments, 26 per cent are struggling to adopt new tech and 20 per cent are finding the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) awkward and confusing.
Tim Vine, Head of European Trade Credit at Dun & Bradstreet, said that businesses were facing a “challenging” few months ahead as we approach the Brexit deadline – and that it was not surprising that the above factors coupled with political uncertainty had negatively affected business confidence.
“Small business leaders are having to contend with scenario planning on top of dealing with day-to-day priorities such as cash flow management, late payments and securing finance for future growth,” he said.
However, he also suggested that SMEs were likely to rise above the challenges faced.
“Despite the range of factors at play, positively, over half of the businesses we spoke to were confident that their business can achieve financial growth over the next five years.
“The resilience of SMEs will stand them in very good stead through these changing and complex times.”

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