Success in Challenging Times: Key Lessons for SMEs

SMEs are a vital part of the British economy. 99.9% of all enterprises in the UK are SMEs. These SMEs provide 59.1% of private sector jobs and are responsible for 48.7% of private sector turnover. The performance of SMEs has a major impact on the performance of the wider economy.

In the current economic downturn, growth is most likely to come from SMEs. It is therefore encouraging that 2011/12 saw the highest level of company start-ups since the last recession with over 450,000 new businesses registered. However, new businesses have a precarious existence and many do not survive their first year; only a minority will still be trading five years later.

This report, which looks into the challenges facing UK SMEs, could scarcely have come at a more appropriate time. Understanding the factors that determine the durability of SMEs will allow the development of best practice, and this vital information can then be communicated to entrepreneurs and SME owners.