The 2020s have been a rocky road for small businesses, whether you’re just starting out or have been running for years. Having weathered the impact of economic uncertainty, political turbulence, and low consumer confidence on their revenues and supply chains, what are the key takeaways, learnings and recommendations for the UK’s SMEs?
In order to find out, we’ve teamed up with Small Business Britain and Clearpay to create the Raising the Bar report series to acts as a tool for the UK’s 6 million small businesses in 2023. These reports outline the issues and challenges that could affect small business growth in 2023 ,including critical emerging business trends and insightful recommendations for businesses. These encompass effective budgeting, reducing marketing spend, making operations more sustainable and laying the foundations for a successful Christmas in 2023.
How to move forward as a small business in 2023
The all-round small business report outlines the major challenges affecting businesses in 2023, why many UK SMEs are quietly confident about their future and what businesses can do to move forward with confidence in 2023 and beyond. While 87% of small business owners are worried about a recession, over 60% are anticipating growth in 2023.
The report discusses tips to help businesses grow in confidence, investing in digital skills and technology, and the role of staff training and development in moving toward a resilient future.
Small business budgets and government support
With high energy prices, increased supply costs and low consumer confidence placing a squeeze on profit margins, small business budgets are more important than ever in managing healthy cash flow and fueling growth. But after the rigours of the past few years, UK small businesses are understandably bearish, with 17% of the 1,000 businesses surveyed delaying expansion and 13% delaying new hires.
The budgeting micro-report explains where forward-thinking businesses are allocating their budgets to facilitate growth, as well as outlining the government support available for businesses, such as the Energy Bill relief Scheme which may help reduce overhead costs and aid liquidity.
Small business sustainability and the opportunities available
A strong focus on sustainability empowers businesses to meet the challenges of the present while increasing the prospect of a brighter tomorrow. As such, it should not only be a part of every business’ corporate social responsibility but also their business continuity strategy.
Finding ways to operate more sustainably can help to drive down energy usage (and costs), reduce your company’s environmental footprint, and ingratiate your brand with eco-conscious consumers. For instance, almost 75% of Gen Z consumers prefer to buy sustainable goods where possible. The report shares tips on making operations more sustainable in ways that could also make business more cost-effective and improve brand appeal.
Navigating Christmas 2023 and marketing on a budget
While recent years have been challenging, businesses should look forward to the opportunities and challenges of the future. This is why we have collaborated with ClearPay and Small Business Britain on a special Christmas micro report.
While many SMEs consider festive trade to be a lifeline, businesses can still encounter difficulty at this time of year. Of the businesses surveyed, 10% admitted that they had a poor festive season last year and were worried about the future, while 7% found Christmas trading to be a major issue. Nonetheless, 36% felt that they got by, and 41% reported a good or great festive trading season.
This micro report focuses on the importance of marketing for small business growth during the festive season. At a time when 31% of businesses have delayed their marketing spend, the report features expert advice on how businesses can grow their brand, even while on a strict budget. So businesses can lay a foundation for success during Christmas 2023 and beyond.
About Square UK
Square is a business solutions ecosystem trusted by millions of businesses worldwide. What started out as a little white card reader has blossomed into a full end-to-end business solutions suite encompassing everything from retail, restaurant and eCommerce solutions to team, inventory and loyalty programme management.
Clearpay is a Buy Now Pay Later specialist that offers short-term interest-free credit solutions to consumers, allowing them to spread the cost of purchases. Partnering with Clearpay affords businesses the chance to offer flexible payment options to customers and benefit from purchases that they may not have made otherwise.
About Small Business Britain
Small Business Britain is an organisation dedicated to helping UK small businesses survive and thrive, regardless of their ambitions, goals or the sector in which they operate. Through regular reports, events and campaigns, SBB aims to champion small businesses and help them chart a path to success and growth.
Check out the Small Business Britain website.