Thomas Coombs has reacted to news that 46 per cent of SME owners believe that a lack of access to skilled workers is the main obstacle to growing their business. The figure comes from research conducted by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and Populus in which 500 directors, senior leaders and SME owners were polled.
A similar number (43 per cent) believe that cutting so-called ‘red tape’ would be the quickest way to stimulate growth among mid-market businesses.
For smaller companies – those with 10-49 employees – access to credit is a wide concern, with 26 per cent citing this as the biggest barrier to expansion.
“It’s disappointing that so many SME owners feel that there are barriers in their way,” commented Christopher Darwin, Partner at Thomas Coombs.
According to the BIBA and Populus survey, the biggest barriers to growth are:
- Lack of talent/skills: 46 per cent
- Red tape: 43 per cent
- Rising supplier costs: 36 per cent
- Lack of tax breaks for small business: 24 per cent
- Lack of business opportunities/sufficient network: 23 per cent
- Availability of credit: 23 per cent
- Knowledge of overseas markets: 13 per cent
- Protective overseas markets: 11 per cent
- Lack of cost-effective transport: 10 per cent
“One of the biggest obstacles to growth is a lack of effectively skilled staff, so more needs to be done to encourage SMEs to take on apprentices.
“Interestingly, availability of credit is seen as a barrier for nearly a quarter of those polled. Clearly, banks need to review their lending policies,” added Christopher Darwin.
Thomas Coombs, based in Leeds, is experienced at assisting SMEs and can offer a range of services to help owners facing any of the problems highlighted in the survey. For more details, please contact Christopher Darwin.