Rising costs biggest challenge for firms

Over a fifth of small businesses say rising costs will be their biggest challenge in 2017, according to Bibby Financial Services (BFS).

The impact of inflation and fall of the sterling following the EU referendum have led many small businesses to become concerned about price rises in the last year.

Of the businesses surveyed in the Q4 SME Confidence Tracker, the average planned investment over the next 3 months is £49,237, less than half the level (£101,919) invested in Q2 2016.

Other challenges faced by businesses:

  • increased competition (18%)
  • late payments (11%).

28% are holding off on investment due to concerns of Brexit and wider EU economy.

24% said they are planning to build up on their cash reserves instead.

David Postings, global chief executive of BFS, said:

“These businesses are facing the challenge of maintaining profitability while remaining price competitive. This equation is causing a headache for many businesses and we are seeing many SMEs start to tighten their belts and pull back investment.

“While exporters are seeing a boost in overseas sales, this benefit only goes so far, as many businesses do not look overseas for opportunities. The UK is still too reliant on a consumer driven economy that has all the signs of slowing down.” 

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