Britain’s SMEs strangled by red tape and regulations

Britain’s SMEs are been strangled by red tape and regulations, according to a new study, with HR compliance, health and safety demands and pension admin stopping owners from growing their enterprise.

SMEs account for over 99 per cent of all businesses in the UK, but they are been hindered by distractions and other admin tasks that eat up an average of 10 hours of the working week.

One in ten business owners has less than an hour a week earmarked for business growth, while eight per cent say they struggle to find any time at all.

Employment law surrounding working hours and holiday allowance was also mentioned as a significant blight on work efficiency, with 53 per cent of those polled feeling their minutes ebbing away under work admin and report writing, and thirty three per cent are unable to find the time they need to run their business effectively.

James Kinsella, co-founder of instantprint, who commissioned the research,  said: “We all know how it feels to fight the clock. There are only so many hours in the day to get everything done and SMEs are feeling the squeeze.

“It’s interesting to see from the research that, while factors such as admin and staff management have an impact on productivity, it is the management of our hours, minutes and seconds that have the biggest effect on the running of a successful enterprise.”

A third of business owners could use a hand managing their finances to save time, while 22 per cent feel that responding to customer service concerns could be streamlined.

When it comes to the balance between old and new, 35 per cent of business owners favour the priorities of their existing customers, compared to the 23 per cent who prefer to seek out new opportunities.

When asked to consider their most important business asset, one in two considered a good reputation in the industry a vital component of running a successful SME.

This compares to one in ten business owners who prioritised their product, and 16 per cent who put their employees on top.

James Kinsella added: “Every business is unique, but improving time management and optimising working hours can only bring positive outcomes to the UK’s SMEs.”

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