Swindon & Wiltshire Business News


Most South West SMEs ‘have no plan to deal with business disruption’

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Mike Lloyd of Haines WattsMike Lloyd of Haines WattsA staggering 93 percent of South West SME owners in the South West have no plan to help them cope with disruption, according to a new study by top 15 UK chartered accountants Haines Watts.

Concerns around disruption are almost universal (98 percent express fears) yet just seven per cent of leaders have a plan to deal with issues which could arise over changes in government policy, legislation or factors such as cybercrime.

Over half of business owners are not being proactive - admitting they haven't thought about disruption or have thought about it but not done anything (54 percent). Many say they are waiting to see what disruption brings and then hoping to respond after the event.

National accountancy firm Haines Watts' For Love or Money study is based on interviews with 542 business owners, whose businesses are at least two years old, with a turnover of between £1 million and £50 million. They have between ten and 249 employees. The research was conducted earlier this year.

The top three findings are:

  • Disruption is a universal fear for South West business owners - 98 percent express concern.
  • Seven percent have a plan in place to address disruption.
  • Uncertainty over government policy and regulation tops the worry list with almost half (49 percent) of business owners concerned.

More traditional forms of disruption mentioned by business owners included competition from larger businesses entering the market (45 percent) and changing customer expectations (31 percent).

One in five business owners (22 percent) say disruption makes them more determined and 22 percent also say it makes them more ambitious.

Mike Lloyd, managing partner at Haines Watts Swindon, said: "Brexit has distracted UK business owners from the very real threat of industry disruption.

“While fears around regulatory disruptions are exceptionally high, business owners may not be concerned enough about the kind of disruption that will threaten their specific business model.

"It's hard to envisage exactly how threats like new technology could unfold but that doesn't mean preparation can't get under way.

“There are steps every business can and should take to prepare the ground for changes."