Hilton-Baird's latest SME Trends Index reveals businesses are experiencing an upside to the recession, using it as a chance to re-evaluate their processes.
Despite the country going into a double-dip recession, the survey, which questioned over 450 business owners about the challenges they have been facing, found that more than two-thirds of businesses have been able to take positives from the recession.
39% said the recession has encouraged them to streamline their business and reduce costs, with 33% reporting that they are utilising their resources more effectively than before the downturn.
The findings show that there has been a drive to reassess outgoings, with 20% stating they are now benefiting from better rates from suppliers and 10% enjoying increased sales due to reduced competition in their sector.
Despite the positives, the impacts of the recession are still prevalent with respondents expressing their key concerns over the next six months with 33% concerned about generating new business, with the rising cost of materials and fuel the main issue for 20%.
Managing Director of Hilton-Baird Financial Solutions, Evette Orams, commented: "It is promising to see that businesses are able to draw on the positives out of what can only be described as a formidable economic situation. We believe that optimism is vital to recovery and are encouraged to see that the majority of our respondents have taken the opportunity afforded to them by the downturn to scrutinise their inner workings and processes to find ways of streamlining and cost-cutting."
"Despite a welcome air of positivity, challenges do lie ahead. Late payment and the rising cost of fuel and materials are still on the minds of our respondents. Yet the issue of generating new business remains the biggest challenge in the next few months.
"I believe that SMEs can tackle this head on by benchmarking their business' operations. By reviewing its functions and ensuring the business is benefiting from the most suitable funding facility on the market, businesses can best focus their energy on the opportunities available to them."
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