SMEs are focused on global aspirations rather than issues closer to home

In a nationwide poll of SME businesses spanning a range of industry sectors, Aon explored the most significant risks that business leaders say they will tackle in the next 12 months. The results highlighted the need for many leaders to rebalance the focus on the immediate risks to their business ventures so that they can put remedial plans in place to mitigate the immediate risks on their doorstep.

The risk of falling demand for products and services was a top concern for 34 per cent of the UK businesses polled. The uncertainty that can come with a General Election, together with uncertainty over the economic recovery in mainland Europe perhaps combined to fuel caution among business leaders on what customer demand might look like tomorrow.

As businesses struggle to manage the operational costs associated with running a business, the potential escalation of the day-to-day cost of running a business was a perceived risk for more than one in four businesses.

Surprisingly, accidents in the workplace featured low on the priority list for those in the manufacturing sector, with only 5 per cent of businesses claiming that they saw these as one of the top three risks their business faced. Even more surprisingly, only 11 per cent of those surveyed in the construction industry said that accidents in the workplace were one of their most significant risks.

Cyber attacks and data loss are becoming increasingly sophisticated and dangerous and, with this in mind, should be high on the agenda of all businesses. This is not the case it would seem – particularly with those in the IT & Communications sector – only 19 per cent rated cyber risk as one of the top three risks for their business.

Chris Lee-Smith, MD, Aon Affinity, and Commented: “It is in the interest of every UK business to identify and anticipate all the potential risks open to the business. With the recent disruption caused by the recent General Election, it is significant that almost one in four UK businesses have identified political uncertainty as a very real risk to overcome in the next 12 months.

However, what the research has highlighted is the gaping hole that currently exists between the big picture and local and immediate risks. Many businesses are worried about things they cannot control and the experience of local or immediate issues which they can. As the leading insurance broker for the business sector, we can help businesses of all sizes anticipate and manage the risk they can control, enabling businesses to anticipate risks and manage change – and freeing them up to do what they do best.”

Image: Cityscape by Shuttersock