When it comes to small firms' big worries, it's not finance, but managing work life balance, that is the single greatest concern of SME's.
For start-up businesses just getting off the ground, the problem of having more work than you can cope with might seem like exactly the sort of challenge you want. But while it’s a perfectly natural instinct for entrepreneurs to take on as much as they possibly can, this is the issue that could cause real damage to your business – and even kill it.
Small and medium-sized enterprises naturally want to grow and that means taking on more work, both from existing clients and new customers. But if your business isn’t able to handle the volume of demand, you shouldn’t see it as a sign of success; rather, it’s an indication that you haven’t paid sufficient attention to the risk implications of rapid growth.
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The survey claimed that the struggle to find a satisfactory work-life balance was the issue that topped participants’ list of worries that “keep them awake at night”. In other areas, such as HR, their greatest concern was losing key staff (29pc). This was followed by a the fear that employees might not be loyal (25pc), and a similar proportion (24pc) who identified a lack of much needed skills. Financial worries were dominated by the cost of employee wages, difficulty in accessing finance was second to the pressures of payroll, with 22pc confessing to fears in this area. Meeting operational overheads, level-pegged with the challenges of meeting suppliers’ payment obligations, with 15pc of respondents respectively saying this was their most important finance worry.