Most small businesses believe that they can take on larger firms, and punch above their weight – even in a challenging economic environment.
According to the latest edition of the Sage Business Index, the UK’s businesses are feeling more confident than at any time since 2008, but the majority (69%) felt that the economic climate was making it more difficult for smaller firms to compete with their larger rivals.
It is perhaps unsurprising that although only a small fraction of those polled for the survey (7% of 1350 businesses) felt that SMEs had an overall competitive advantage over larger businesses, most identified areas where smaller firms had an advantage.
The rapid advances seen in web technology have had the most impact on fledgling businesses – 41% of respondents pointed to social media as being an area where firms of all size can compete on more of a level playing field. In fact, many would argue that it is easier for small firms to adapt to changes in technology – as they do not have layers of bureaucracy to work though before decisions to be made.
15% of respondents felt that they were able to focus strongly on delivering personal service to customers – something larger businesses often struggle with.
Encouragingly, the UK’s small businesses are bullish about their own future prospects, with just under two thirds saying they felt confident in their abilities to take on their larger rivals. In fact, according to the fourth global Business Index survey, the country’s businesses are the most confident in Europe about their prospects over the next six months (58.46), recording their highest confidence levels since the Business Index began in 2011.
Commenting on the survey findings, Brendan Flattery, CEO of Sage UK and Ireland said: “Big business may still have the edge in the current marketplace, but the tide is turning thanks to social media and the delivery of a personal customer service. It’s crucial that small to medium businesses and entrepreneurs are given the tools they need to thrive and feel empowered to compete with companies bigger and more established than themselves.”