‘Concerned’ SMEs 
look at closing down

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More than one in 10 British small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) say they have considered closing down in the last three months, according to a new SME Risk Index from global insurer Zurich.

In the North, 17 per cent of SMEs have considered closing down, compared with five per cent in the Midlands, seven per cent in London and 12 per cent in the South overall, found Zurich’s first quarterly SME Risk Index, undertaken by YouGov and published today. Around 560 SME senior decision makers were surveyed.

The majority – 84 per cent – of SME decision makers are “fairly/very concerned” about the UK’s current economic climate, with 38 per cent “very concerned”, it showed. A further 84 per cent say they are not confident that the economic situation will improve in the next quarter, and more than two thirds are still not confident when looking ahead to next year.

When asked which three things SME owners currently see as the biggest opportunity for their business, business innovation came out top, followed by cost and expense reduction and exploring web-trading and online marketing. In the past three months more than half have expanded activity to target new customers and one third have diversified their business offering.