Bosses of small and medium firms fear their businesses will not survive 2023 because of the financial crisis, according to new research from Vodafone Business, UK.
Small business owners across the UK fear they will be hit by a triple whammy of soaring costs, shortage of labour and dwindling consumer spending, from which they may not recover. Almost three-quarters of owners and managers in the survey say they have real fears for the future, with one-in-ten saying they may not survive the year at all.
The study of small and medium business owners found that the rising costs of fuel and power (57%), staff wages (34%), broadband and phones (32%), rent/mortgage (32%) and transport/distribution (30%) lead their list of concerns going into 2023. To help reduce costs and save money, almost half of all SMEs said they were turning down the heating and switching off lights, while one-in-four planned to ask staff to work more days from home.
According to the study, most small business owners are now working a 46-hour week on average, or 10 hours more than the national average, and that most expect to have to put in even longer hours in 2023 to make ends meet.
The research is revealed as Vodafone relaunches its 12-months free broadband for small businesses offer to help them stay connected and give them one less bill to think about this winter.
Available on a 24-month contract, the offer is open to all new and existing Vodafone customers. And, with nothing to pay on their broadband services for 12 months*, small businesses can expect to save up to £348, providing much needed relief on an essential service.
Andrew Stevens, Head of UK Small and Medium Business, Vodafone said: “Whilst these findings may not be a surprise, they remind us of the many challenges small and medium businesses continue to face heading into 2023.
“SMEs are the beating heart of the UK economy and will be essential in helping strengthen our economy, we all therefore have a responsibility to ensure we are doing everything we can to help them thrive and survive. That’s why we’ve relaunched our 12 months free broadband offer to provide small businesses with one less bill to worry about in 2023.”
As the cost of business essentials continues to rise, Vodafone launched Pulse Connect in September 2022, a first-of-its-kind converged and flexible solution for SMEs. It offers business-grade broadband, unlimited calls to UK mobiles and landlines, collaboration (Microsoft 365 Suite), and cloud calling tools – all in one complete solution – and covered by just one monthly bill.