New research out to day from Abbey Business Banking has found that 39% of small business owners feel the economic outlooks for their business over the next 12 months are concerning or poor. This compares with just 15% of SME owners who had this outlook 12 months ago.
What is more worryingly though, are that entrepreneurs are also noticing significant changes in their client or supplier relations and a noticeable increase in costs. More than a quarter (29%) of small business owners feel their clients are increasingly delaying their payments, and another 12% (one-in-eight) believe a growing number of clients are failing to pay their bills at all. The out of step relationship between businesses debtors and creditors is causing the UK business owner to suffer with cash flow problems.
While business owners’ income is being squeezed by clients, their outgoings are increasing as suppliers increase costs. 40% of small business owners have seen supplier costs go up over the last few months, and more than half of those questioned (56%) felt the overall cost of running their business was on the increase. So while late payments are getting worse profit margins are being squeezed.