Economic uncertainty biggest threat to SMEs

Recent research has found that 45 per cent of small business leaders most fear economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, ongoing digitalisation efforts and increased competition are amongst other fears they face.

According to the report, while small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) require strong leadership in this time of change, a significant proportion of those polled believe that leadership is currently lacking within their organisation, and this has the potential to cause a significant negative economic impact.

When looking at implementing new digital solutions, 42 per cent said their leadership team is resistant to change, while 40 per cent said they have poor soft skills and 30 per cent cited a lack of communication.

According to the study, 33 per cent of those polled said that the skills needed for strong leadership included strategic thinking, adaptability, emotional intelligence, communication and collaboration. These soft skills, which were once overlooked and undervalued, are now being identified as the most crucial to become a Chief Executive.

However, separate research suggests that on average more than 45 per cent of small business owners believe technology is more important to their business than people. London tops the UK rankings as this figure is 56 per cent for the city.

Commenting on this, one critic said that while technology helps with digital skills, productivity and processes within the workplace, people are just as valuable as they help to build long-standing relationships that are vital for an efficient connection between businesses and their customers.

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