With it being Halloween today, we’re not thinking about fancy dress or fake blood. This year, we’re more concerned with getting a handle on those things which businesses fear.
According to recent research by Opus Energy, 76% of SME owners are losing sleep over the state of their business. Amongst the top concerns for businesses are finance, work-life balance and legal compliance.
Whilst there isn’t a silver bullet for any of these problems, the small business experts at Brighter Business offer some insight and food for thought for new businesses who might be having the same frightful worries…
Having a bad accountant
Costs are, understandably, one of the biggest concerns for businesses; so much so that it came out as the top concern in Opus Energy’s survey, with 35% of respondents indicating it keeps them up at night.
What makes up the concerns? Too many outgoings, lost money, the urgency of paying tax, and of course the general pressure of learning how to manage finances and understand financial performance.
Employment costs, too, are considerable and there’s always the pressure to plan for a rainy day. The best advice cited in the survey? “Get a good accountant” and “get money upfront” to avoid financial risk.
Losing work/life balance
Work-life balance is a considerable concern for many; it was quoted by 27% of respondents as the second-biggest concern.
It’s increasingly difficult for people to disconnect from work, with internet access on mobile devices making it much easier for people to work while commuting or while situated outside of the traditional workplace.
This can impact on personal life. Having “less time for family” and “learning how to juggle [my] family life” were key worries among survey respondents.
According to the research, a staggering nine in 10 SME businesses in London struggle with productivity, and it’s entirely possible that a poor work-life balance could be a cause of low productivity.
In the context of a society which never switches off – the always-on era – it is important to take a break. As such, having defined boundaries between the different spheres of your life is important; don’t compromise the quality of either your work or your personal time by mixing them too often.
Unexpected risk or upheaval
A changing economic landscape brings about uncertainty, and the spectre of Brexit has been looming on the horizon for more than 18 months. When Brexit becomes reality in March 2019, there will invariably be changes for businesses.
These range from logistical challenges and supply-chain disruption as new laws on the movement of goods are implemented. This is also true of the movement of people, which could have implications for the workforces of various industries.
Rising costs, increased bureaucracy and falling investment are all expected to affect businesses to varying degrees. A large part of the fear is also down to the degree of uncertainty around just how impactful Brexit will be, with business anxiety increasing as the days tick down.
Increasing legal requirements
With 12% of respondents citing legislation compliance as a top obstacle, it’s clear that business owners are increasingly concerned about regulatory obligations.
For many, getting to grips with complex terminology and specialist language is daunting – and it can often feel like you’re struggling to keep on top of it. The best advice is to keep on top of paper work, pay attention to the legal areas of your business, and to ensure that your processes are fit for purpose. Look for easy access resources and make sure you’re not keeping yourself in the dark.