Intelligent SME.tech Issue 25 - Page 59

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56 % OF UK SME BUSINESSES ARE STILL STRUGGLING POST-PANDEMIC

Hokodo has announced new research which reveals that over half of respondent SMEs ( 56 %) are still struggling to stay afloat , two years on from the start of the pandemic .

Earlier this year , Hokodo surveyed 500 SMBs across several industries to gain a better understanding of how such businesses were recovering from the pandemic and the results were startling .
The hospitality and tourism industry has been impacted the worst , with 77 % of businesses still negatively affected . This news comes amid the costof-living crisis , with energy prices and inflation soaring .
More than two years on from the start of the pandemic , 28 % of small business owners admit they are barely breaking even .
Meanwhile , a further 48 % said that their business is now making revenue , but the financial state of their business has been difficult to manage .
During the last six months , 28 % have had some difficulties making payments or missed paying invoices from time to time . Worryingly , for 8 % of respondents , missed payments have become a regular occurrence .
With around half ( 56 %) of SME owners feeling somewhat positive about the future of their business in the next 12 months , there is some good news to be found in the survey results , but SMEs are still facing significant challenges , with business owners worrying about several issues .
• By far the greatest concern for SME business owners is increasing energy prices , which is currently worrying 49 % of respondents .
• Inflation rates are an issue for 43 % of business owners .
• Cash flow is causing problems for more than a third ( 39 %) of SMEs – over 90 % of whom had no cash flow concerns pre-pandemic . A quarter says that cash flow is no longer a problem , but it used to be during the COVID-19 lockdowns .
• Material costs are affecting 32 % of respondents while labour costs are a struggle for 16 % of businesses .
One of the ways that SMEs can alleviate cash flow problems is by having the option to delay payment of their business purchases .
Just under a quarter of survey respondents ( 23 %) admitted that access to longer payment terms is crucial to their company ’ s survival over the coming 12 months .
Meanwhile , 41 % actively search for suppliers who offer credit terms , and 15 % say that this is an essential requirement when sourcing suppliers .
Perhaps adding to the financial strain is the fact that 45 % of businesses occasionally have to grant their customer payment terms to win deals , while 14 % have to do this all the time , raising the question of why there has not been more provision made to support the B2B sector in this area . �
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