UKs scale ups aren’t confident in meeting business challenges

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New research into Britain’s scaling SME landscape has discovered that one third of growing businesses are lacking confidence when it comes to tackling their biggest and most pressing challenges.

The research asked UK early stage scale ups about their greatest concerns for their businesses as they prepare for growth, as well as their confidence levels in strategies to meet those concerns.

The research revealed that growth targets among these businesses are ambitious with over two thirds looking to increase revenue by over 50 per cent in the next two years, with the larger companies aiming even higher in their growth plans. However, when asked about their specific plans to achieve those objectives, significant gaps in confidence start to widen.

The survey revealed that nearly nine in ten of all UK scale-ups were most concerned about creating the right customer experience to reflect their brand – but only two-thirds were confident in their abilities to meet that challenge. The second biggest concern for 88 per cent of these businesses was ‘creating and communicating a consistent and compelling brand’, and just 65 per cent were confident about how they were approaching that issue.

Some 86 per cent of these scaling SMEs were concerned or very concerned about creating a clear vision to rally around, and 82 per cent were worried about their company’s culture for the year ahead. Just 63 per cent were confident in their vision, while 65 per cent felt confident in tackling their company culture.

While the number of start-up businesses swelled to over 634,000 in 2017 alone, the five-year survival rate remains low, with four in ten failing to reach their fifth birthday. The results of this research indicate that companies may not be fully confident in their abilities to meet their greatest business concerns, whether due to a lack of experience, knowledge, or changing market conditions.

Andy Snuggs, Managing Partner at Future Kings, who commissioned the research, comments: “The scaling businesses are the backbone of Britain, especially as we move closer into Brexit. For there to be such a gap emerging between these companies’ greatest concerns for navigating the future business environment and their confidence in meeting these challenges, suggests additional help and support is not only needed – it may be crucial to their survival.

“Our aim is to help UK start-ups become scale-ups by embedding the founders’ vision and purpose firmly within their company structure to create that absolute clarity of focus. These founding principles are the driving force behind everything that a young business and its employees do. Truly establishing and creating a clear brand strategy that is aligned to the business vision within the company creates clarity and supports long-term growth and workplace success.”