According to a new SME Risk Index from global insurer Zurich, 11% of British SMEs say they have considered closing down in the last quarter.
84% of SME decision makers are fairly concerned about the UK’s economic climate, of which 38% very concerned. 84% say they are not confident that the economic situation will improve in the next quarter, and 69% are not confident when looking ahead to next year.
There are 4.5 million SMEs in the UK; if we consider that 11% of these have thought about closing down – this does paint a very gloomy picture about current business confidence.
17% of SMEs based in the North have considered closing down, compared with just 5% in the Midlands, 7% in London and 12% in the South. Looking at these numbers, we can see that there is clearly a regional disparity in business confidence between the North and South.
Despite all of this, Britain‘s SMEs are fighting back and many decision makers are actively reviewing their business models and looking at various new opportunities. According to the SME Risk Index Survey, when posed the question of what decision makers see as their biggest opportunity for their business, 33% said business innovation, 30% said cost and expense reduction and 22% said web trading and online marketing.
Furthermore, in the last quarter, 58% of SMEs have expanded activity to target new customers and 33% have expanded their business offering.