5 of the Biggest Problems Facing Business Owners Today

It’s easy to get depressed if you read the latest headlines. ‘Business confidence hits a new low.’ ‘UK heads for triple-dip recession.’

Although these headlines may be necessarily sensationalist, the fact remains that every piece of good news about the economy is balanced by another piece of bad news. So what are the issues that are really concerning businesses at moment? We’ve listed five which often crop up in our conversations with clients.

1. Uncertainty

If there’s one thing that both stock markets and business owners like it’s certainty. Stock markets want to know there aren’t any nasty shocks round the corner, and business owners and directors like to be able to plan ahead. Unfortunately, certainty is one of the main things lacking in the current economic climate and as a consequence businesses are focusing on the short term instead of long-term planning.

There is still considerable disagreement over whether the Chancellor is pursuing the right course and not a week goes past without Europe facing another crisis and a further raft of shop closures hitting the High Street. In the circumstances it’s hardly surprising that businesses are unwilling – and unable – to plan for the long term. If we could wave a magic wand, certainty and stability would be then one thing we’d bring to the UK economy.

2. Globalisation and cost-cutting

Globalisation was supposed to be good news – and in some respects it is. New markets are opening up all the time, and there’s a chance to source materials and services from countries where the cost-base is much lower. But there’s another side to the coin as well.

Whatever you make, or whatever service you supply, the chances are that someone, somewhere does it cheaper. With several websites now offering to source suppliers from all over the world (and consumers becoming increasingly aware of them) competing on price alone is becoming a short cut to trouble. As the old saying goes, people remember the quality long after they’ve forgotten the price and we would be very wary of advising anyone – especially a service business – to compete solely on price in the current global market.

3. Regulation and Red Tape

Every new Government makes a promise: ‘we’ll remove the burden of bureaucracy and set business free…’ But somehow, it never seems to work out does it? Clients tell us that they’re labouring under just as many regulations as they ever were: whether it’s Health and Safety, Employment Law or sundry other compliance demands there always seems to be a new hoop to jump through before you can finally sell something.

Sadly we can’t affect Government policy, but we can offer two pieces of advice: familiarise yourself with the regulations that affect your industry – and comply with them. Sadly, the penalties for non-compliance with the rules and regulations are getting ever more severe and they’re being ever more sharply applied. There is simply no point in landing your business with an unnecessary fine or penalty through non-compliance or neglect. Bite the bullet and do what you need to do.

4. Keeping up with technology

First businesses needed a website: then they needed a Facebook page: then Twitter… The list of new developments in social media that you simply have to embrace shows no sign of stopping. It’s not just methods of communicating and spreading your message that are changing either: manufacturing, sales and distribution are also changing, particularly as established businesses face more and more competition from the developing world.

Unsurprisingly, business owners feel under pressure to keep up with changes in technology and innovation – but the pace of change means that they are often unwilling to invest in technology for fear of finding it obsolete as soon as they’ve spent the money. There are also staffing issues – a company can either stay informed about emerging technology or master the current technology – it rarely has the resources to do both.

5. Information overload – and time

As if the flood of new technology wasn’t enough, business owners also face being swamped by information. Every day there are e-mails we need to read, blogs with useful information, podcasts, articles in the media…

You could very easily spend all day keeping up to date with information and never do any work. Small wonder that despite the huge number of ‘time saving’ systems, programmes and websites around, business owners complain of having less time than ever.

In our experience, while it might be tempting to cross off a few unimportant things to make your list look more manageable, the most basic time management principle of them all still holds good. Do the most important thing on your list and work at it until you’ve finished. Then move on to number two…

Those five problems are the ones that clients mention to us over and over again. We can’t solve them, but can we can make a promise. We’re always here – and we’ll do whatever we can to help.

Let’s start a conversation 

    Subscribe me for updates and news from In Accountancy

    Related articles

    tax on interest income
    Limited Companies

    Maximise Your Tax-Free Savings Interest Income: UK Guide for 2024

    Over the last year UK savers have finally been in a position to earn some interest on their savings, but how is interest income taxed, and how can you maximise the tax free element of what you receive? 🤔
    If you meet certain criteria or have flexibility in how you structure your income, then you can potentially enjoy up to £18,570 of your income completely tax-free!! 🥳

    Read More »
    time to pay arrangement
    Limited Companies

    Time to Pay Arrangements: A Lifeline for Owner-Managed Businesses

    Are You Struggling to Meet Your Tax Obligations?

    More than 30,000 UK businesses were involved in some kind of insolvency action in 2023, which was an increase of more than 50% compared with 2021 according to an article in the Guardian earlier this year.

    And the economic outlook would suggest that despite the fact that we are no longer in recession, 2024 and 2025 will be a challenging year for UK small business.

    With this in mind we have prepared the following guide and associated video to help you understand what your options are with regards to agreeing what is known as a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement with HMRC.

    Read More »

    Find out how we can help?

    Lectus scelerisque a donec tincidunt litora per eleifend eget ut sagittis conubia pharetra scelerisque dui ultricies duis parturient auctor adipiscing.

     

    Let’s start a conversation 

      Subscribe me for updates and news from In Accountancy

      IN-ACCOUNTANCY

      Search