Small to medium-sized businesses’ biggest barrier to success is finding new customers

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More than half of entrepreneurs (53%) said finding new customers was their biggest barrier to success, while 28% chose getting a loan and 24% effective advice, according to a recent survey by the experts in business the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Other issues that were highlighted as restricting growth included “lack of motivation when efforts don’t equate to rewards”, access to legal advice and accountants, and exporting. One entrepreneur even wrote: “Someone to talk me through all the annoying legislation that I need to learn in order to trade legally.”

The survey was undertaken by FSB in conjunction with BusinessZone as part of FSB’s campaign to develop the advice they offer small businesses (read our feature on How home businesses can increase sales, which was inspired by the findings).

Interestingly, 62% of the survey participants were working from home, showing just how popular this option has become (27% rent and 6% own premises, while 5% were based in incubators).

Several trends have been a boon to these home-based entrepreneurs over the last few years, including increased connectivity, online sales, cloud software and the availability of freelancers; it’s not only become more acceptable to work from home, but the tools need to do so have fallen in cost dramatically.

FSB works with the government to advocate for small business, including a recent call for smaller firms to access affordable flood insurance.

This led us to ask you about the issues they should be concentrating on and entrepreneurs rated access to finance, business rates and public procurement as the key things Westminster needed to work on.

The survey also threw light on the reasons entrepreneurs choose to start a business; 51% put it down to “entrepreneurial spirit”, 23% saw a gap in the market and 18% were prompted by a redundancy.

Join the Federation of Small Businesses today from as little as £2.50 a week to get an expert support network of professionals, products and services to help you achieve your business ambitions. To arrange a meeting or join now, call 0808 1688 512 quoting BUZ3 or visit our website.

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