Small businesses are the backbone of the world’s economy. The most recent estimates suggest that there are a whopping 5.9 million small businesses dotted up and down the UK, which means around 99% of all companies in the country should be regarded as SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), while in the United States there are around 30.2 million SMEs, which together employee nearly half (47.5%) of the country’s workforce.
We are, as a country, going through a period of mass transition, with technology constantly evolving, AI becoming more of a threat to jobs, and multinationals buying up businesses left right and center. But if the latest statistics are any indication of future performance, then small companies could be set not only to survive, but to thrive.
According to Direct Line, 1.6 million UK businesses said they were able to double their revenue in just four weeks. And, what’s more, over half of all SMEs (53 percent) said they were able to increase their year-on-year revenues, which shows there is not only appetite for products and services produced and supplied by small businesses, but that there is room for these companies to grow even in uncertain economic times.
And, despite the fact that any potential Brexit fallout has yet to properly arrive, many small businesses are fully confident that they will not only be able to ride the wave but will actually be able to take advantage and reap financial rewards. In fact, so confident are the UK’s small businesses that one in five (18 percent) say they are considering opening a new office or location during 2020, while many more are contemplating expanding operations in one way or another.
And in the USA there is also room for celebration. Between January 2018 and January 2019 – the latest official figures available – the annual gross revenues brought in by a small business grew by a very impressive 19.2%. Early reports would also seem to indicate that 2019 was a strong year for American small businesses, with almost 6 in ten (57%) of companies stating that they experienced revenue growth throughout the year.
But there are still issues that SMEs have to face on a daily basis, even if the business is well run and all products, services or solutions are delivered on time.
According to a report released by Leonne International, UK SMEs are currently chasing a staggering £50 billion in late payments. This means that SMEs, which often don’t have much money in the bank because they run on narrow margins, can struggle to grow – or even stay afloat – through no fault of their own. What’s more, the process of chasing payments can stop employees (always at a premium for SMEs) from doing work that will actually help to grow or enhance business operations.
This is, quite clearly, cause for concern. Businesses need to ensure they are protected, especially if they fall into financial difficulties that are, to all intents and purposes, uncontrollable. Business insurance is absolutely essential, so whether you’re working from home, an office, a shop or in a co-working space, make sure that you are covered should the worst happen.