04 December 2015: Nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of SME business owners often make difficult decisions on their own with nine per cent having nobody to turn to for advice according to a new survey by AXA PPP healthcare.* Of those who do have support, 21 per cent say they rely on their family, 19 per cent rely on other directors or business partners while 16 per cent, each, turn to fellow business owners through a networking organisation or to their employees for help.
When asked about additional support, more than two in five owners (42 per cent) said they would like more support in running their business while the same number wanted better access to finance. Three in ten (29 per cent) were looking for more support from government and one in six (16 per cent) wanted support with business planning.
Despite their desire for more assistance, two thirds (67 per cent) of owners surveyed told AXA PPP healthcare they felt optimistic about the growth of their business in the next three to five years. Their confidence is well founded as, in the wider economy, turnover at businesses with fewer than 20 employees grew from £813,314m to £888,390m in 2013 – an increase of 9 per cent.**
Glen Parkinson, SME Business Director at AXA PPP healthcare said: “Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and this survey highlights the efforts small business owners are making to boost it. Owners are positive about the future and working hard to achieve their goals but we worry that they lack the right kind of support to make the success of their business sustainable.
“Small business owners have to lead their business, drive growth and ensure essential activities are well managed. The pressure of this responsibility is leading owners to put in long hours, which is consequently impacting their home lives. This is unsustainable and can lead to illness that could potentially damage the business. We would encourage small business owners to seek the wide range of support that is out there so they can maintain business as usual.”
When asked the main business pressures they felt, owners cited cash flow (13 per cent), making clients/customers happy (11 per cent) and meeting regulatory requirements (11 per cent). Asked which pressure they would most like to be free of, 19 per cent of owners said cash flow and 18 per cent said making sure they have business coming in.
About AXA PPP healthcare
AXA PPP healthcare has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides medical insurance cover and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its specialist Health Services division.
The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management, with 157,000 employees serving 103 million clients in 59 countries. In 2014, IFRS revenues amounted to Euro 92.0 billion and IFRS underlying earnings to Euro 5.1 billion. AXA had Euro 1,277 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2014. In 2014 Interbrand ranked AXA the 1st insurance brand worldwide for the 6th consecutive year.
In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth, AXA Commercial Lines and Personal Intermediary, AXA Personal Direct and Partnerships, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 10,500 staff in the UK.
The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISN FR 0000120628 – Bloomberg: CS FP – Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA’s American Depository Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY.
The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.
It is a founding member of the UN Environment Programme’s Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance and a signatory of the UN Principles for Responsible Investment.