On the brink: 12% of small businesses have considered shutting up shop

LAUNCHPAD: The economy may be ticking along nicely, but some small businesses are still feeling the pinch.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 03 Nov 2014

With the economy finally bigger than its pre-recession peak, and due to grow the most out of any advanced economies this year if the IMF gets its way, you might be forgiven for thinking businesses were out of the woods.

But 12% of small and medium-sized companies (1-249 employees) have considered closing down altogether in the last three months, according to insurer Zurich’s latest SME Risk Index. That’s 1% up on the previous three quarters and, while it isn’t as high as the 15% who thought about giving up the ghost in the winter of 2012/13, indicates there is still a fair amount of uncertainty around for small firms.

Meanwhile, a quarter of the ‘SME decision makers’ surveyed said they’d had to lower prices in the last three months and 15% had got rid of a staff member. More cheerily, 47% were worried about keeping up cash flow – still high, but 6% down from this time last year. Just under a quarter were concerned about debt, a fall of 5% over 12 months.

Finally, either a lot of small businesses sorted their cyber security out pronto after the Heartbleed panic and eBay hack a few months ago, or are a tad amnesiac. A quarter of the 503 ‘decision makers’ said they don’t think their business is at risk from their technology, whereas 45% were worried about cyber threats last quarter. Or maybe small business bosses are just more concerned about their personal photos being shared around at the NSA

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime