Two thirds of UK based SME owners make difficult decisions alone



Pressure ‘can lead to illness and damage the business’

Interesting in the survey detailed below that the business owners did not have access to the services of independent business consultants. Through my role as a experienced business adviser, clients often seek independent help from me on business planning, grants and finance, changing structures, recruitment and retention of key staff, succession planning in a family business – and more. When a relationship based on trust  grows over time between client and adviser , a business owner finds  an external perspective invaluable.


Nearly two thirds (62%) of UK SME owners often make difficult business decisions on their own with 9% having nobody to turn to for advice.

The survey by AXA PPP healthcare found that of those who do have support, 21% rely on their family, 19% rely on other directors or business partners and 16% turn to fellow business owners through a networking organisation or to their employees for help.

More than two in five owners (42%) said they would like more support in running their business while the same number wanted better access to finance.

Three in 10 (29%) were looking for more support from government and one in six (16%) wanted support with business planning.

Despite their desire for more assistance, two thirds (67%) said they felt optimistic about the growth of their business in the next three to five years.

Turnover at businesses with fewer than 20 employees grew by 9% from £813,314m to £888,390m in 2013, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Glen Parkinson, SME business director at AXA PPP healthcare, said the pressure faced by small business owners to lead their business, drive growth and ensure essential activities are well managed is leading them to put in long hours, which is consequently impacting their home lives.

“This is unsustainable and can lead to illness that could potentially damage the business. We would encourage small business owners to seek the wide range of support that is out there so they can maintain business as usual,” he said.

When asked the main business pressures they felt, owners cited cash flow (13%), making clients/customers happy (11%) and meeting regulatory requirements (11%).


Billy Linehan is a Certified Management Consultant, CMC, and a Fellow of The Institute of Management Consultants of Ireland.

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