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What Are SME's Top 3 Worries?
the biggest things holding SMEs back

This takes about 2 minutes to read

UK Business Landscape

Are you a small business, worrying about attracting new customers? If so, you‘re among the 79% of small businesses in the UK who state this is their number one challenge.

Think about that a moment, small businesses in the UK account for about 98% of businesses and account for 96% of all businesses employing under 10 people. If we include medium sized businesses too, that number jumps to 99.9% of businesses.

60% of all UK business employment is with SMEs, this implies that the vast number of people working don‘t work for large businesses but for small businesses. This is a vast and underrepresented segment of the UK economy, as it accounts for over 51% of all turnover, needs better governmental representation.

3 Greatest Challenges

From the graph below, it‘s clear the biggest challenge by far is the need to Attract Customers or Clients.


The fact that 79% of SMEs found this a challenge just shows how much businesses need help. This help often comes in the form of staff development, getting the existing employees to learn new skills or improve the ones they have. From a sales perspective, this means understanding their products and/or services, working with potential and existing clients to create that long term relationship.


Obviously, Increased revenue follows on directly from Attracting New Customers, but to do this effectively, you need to know what your Value Proposition is, how you are adding value to your clients or customers and what they are looking for. You must understand their wants, needs, pains and fears, in order to address them.


Maintaining Profitability is causally related to understanding the costs to the business and how investment increases sales through the long-term relationship that you‘re building with your clients and customers.

When taken together these three factors directly impact one another and more importantly tackled with a single cohesive strategy to see the world in a new way, not by thinking about each individually, but by seeing them as aspects of the same whole.


As we approach gaining a long-term relationship with clients and potential clients, we have less need to attract more customers or clients, as we are keeping each one found for longer. This, in turn, deepens the relationship, which again increases the lifetime value of the customer or client, and then increases profitability and by doing so, drives down costs. Thus, producing a win-win for both you and the client.

Interesting Notes

While, intuitively, most people would consider funding to the be biggest challenge, the survey shows that funding related concerns are way down the list of concerns and are less problematic than taxes and regulations.

Considering that most of the businesses in the SME sector are really micro businesses, it is not a surprise that international markets are not a major concern. However, as businesses grow, moving into foreign markets might well begin to become part of Attracting Customers, especially once they have made the jump to a new market.

Facts at a Glance

  • SMEs account for 99.9% of UK businesses.
  • 79% of small businesses worry about attracting new customers.

Therefore, tackling the top 3 concerns becomes straightforward once a good marketing and sales strategy is in place, backed by appropriate sales processes.

Katherine Says

Now this might come as no surprise to you, but the top 3 things that worry SMEs are exactly the items that benefit the most from a strong sales process, integrated into a well targeted marketing campaign.

It is vital that the design of the marketing campaign and the sales processes that back it up work seamlessly together. All too often design of both happens in isolation and as such work sub-optimally. Getting this right is straightforward, when that is the goal from the outset. When left to change, the results are usually poor.

Work with a professional and ensure that your results meet your expectations. Book a 1-hour free consultation with me, simply contact me to arrange it. There is no obligation.