Business owners also urge next government to cut red tape for business growth
Nearly half (46%) of SME owners believe that a lack of access to skilled workers is the main obstacle to growing their business, according to research conducted by the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and Populus.
The poll of 500 directors, senior leaders and SME owners reveals that a similar number (43%) believe cutting red tape would be the quickest way to stimulate growth among mid-market businesses.
Among smaller companies (10-49 employees) access to credit is a wide concern. More than one-quarter (26%) cite this as the biggest barrier to expansion.
Ahead of the General Election, respondents sent a clear message to any future governments by warning that a lack of available tax breaks were stifling their business growth. Almost one-quarter (24%) said this was the biggest barrier for them.
BIBA’s 2015 manifesto, a document intended to give any future government an idea of the main issues affecting businesses, urges a larger focus on both increasing access to skills and cutting red tape.
It also recommends improving the quality and availability of apprenticeships for people looking to enter the jobs market – especially those looking to work in the insurance industry.
BIBA chief executive Steve White said that, as a small business owner himself, he has “direct experience of these challenges”.
“One of the biggest obstacles to our growth is a lack of effectively skilled staff, which is crucial given the nature of our work,” he continued.
“We are also heavily reliant on suppliers to give us the best deal and recently we have seen a rise in these costs, which are certainly a barrier for our business.”
Biggest barriers to growth
- Lack of talent/skills: 46%
- Red tape: 43%
- Rising supplier costs: 36%
- Lack of tax breaks for small business: 24%
- Lack of business opportunities/sufficient network: 23%
- Availability of credit: 23%
- Knowledge of overseas markets: 13%
- Protective overseas markets: 11%