UK small businesses plan to reduce costs in 2017

Brexit has sparked the urge for companies to cut back, with rising costs, uncertainty and financial concerns troubling small businesses.

Some 58 per cent of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be prioritising reducing costs in the New Year, according to a study by Liberis.

Business owners prioritise reducing costs over expanding their business or developing the skills of their staff.

Survey respondents also mention Brexit, rising costs and Donald Trump as challenges that their businesses expect to face in 2017, which may explain why business owners and managers plan to reduce costs next year.

Which type of businesses plan to reduce costs?

The sector that prioritises ‘reducing costs’ above everything else is the retail sector, making up 21 per cent of the 58 per cent that select this as their main concern for 2017.

In contrast, a majority of those in the automotive sector state that to ‘develop staff skills’ is their main priority for 2017.

When broken down by size of business, the smaller SMEs (1-49 employees) are looking to reduce costs next year, whereas those with 50+ employees are keen to ‘develop staff skills’ as their priority in 2017.

Challenges business expect to face in 2017 include Brexit and Donald Trump. Of those that list Brexit as their main challenge for 2017, 61 per cent are over 45 years old and 84 per cent are male respondents.

Competition is another major challenge mentioned by businesses, with 86 per cent of those respondents seeing competition as the biggest threat to their business having 1-10 employees.

When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, around 28 per cent of SME owner choose ‘to gain a better work life balance’.

Of those that list this as their New Year’s Resolution, 24 per cent are Millennials in the 25-34 year old age bracket, and 25 per cent are in the hospitality industry.

Further reading on business costs

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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