Around 30% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are concerned about damage to their reputation, according to a survey carried out by the Broker Network.
Meanwhile, 24% of small UK businesses named regulatory changes as their biggest worry, and 17% cited employee issues such as rising staff wages as their chief concern right now.
The Broker Network study, which surveyed 500 small UK businesses as part of its research, went deeper in revealing that many businesses thought that reputation was nigh-on impossible to recover if it was negatively affected. Furthermore, the same companies citing reputation as their biggest concern said that it can be affected by things largely out of its control, such as a supplier being late to deliver, for example.
The introduction of the National Living Wage, which was introduced by former Chancellor George Osborne has caused consternation among many UK SMEs, who say they cannot afford the increase in labour costs.
Josh Hardie, the deputy director general of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said that many smaller businesses were the ones most likely to be affected negatively by the introduction of the National Living Wage. Mr Hardie added that wage increases are only sustainable if they are based on an increase in productivity. He added: If the National Living Wage (NLW) doesn’t get this balance right it will risk being unaffordable for many firms. Smaller businesses and those in key sectors like hospitality, retail and care are likely to be particularly affected.
On a more worrying note, 35% of UK SMEs admitted that they do not have insurance policies in place to cover for unexpected losses. Furthermore, 11% of respondents said that they do not know if they have any such insurance in place.
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