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Small biz owners must adapt in period of turbulence and change

4 December 2019

A quarter of small business owners expect to fail over the next five years amid growing political and economic uncertainty. The ability to adapt to change will be key to survival. 

Mounting concerns such as late payments (54%), tax rates for small businesses (44%) and uncertainty around Brexit (44%) have made business owners question their longevity, according to small business platform Xero.

In a study of 500 business owners, it found four in 10 were currently experiencing their most turbulent period as an SME owner.

Gerd Leonard, business futurist and contributor to the report, said: “Humanity will change more in the next 20 years than in the previous 300. We will see the biggest technological transformation in human history. Automation is reducing the need for humans to undertake routine tasks and the world of work is heading towards a dramatic reset.

“Whether you’re a small business owner, an accountant, bookkeep or adviser, these emerging trends will affect you very soon.”

Other challenges facing business owners included the value of the pound (40%), maintaining or increasing levels of productivity (31%) and the increasing cost of importing goods/ materials (30%).

Cyber attacks and the issue of attracting high calibre employees also featured for 27% and 24% of respondents respectively.

The report also highlighted the pressures of running your own business.

On average, small business owners work an extra nine hours  a week in additional to their standard working hours and invested £11,846 of their own money into their business, leaving just over a quarter (26%) out of pocket.

Gary Turner, managing director, Xero, commented: “The way small businesses work now are dramatically different from the 1980s. But business needs to adapt to greater changes coming their way.”

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