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Here at Bibby Financial Services we conduct a number of surveys and reports with our clients, this helps us keep a finger on the pulse of the UK business landscape. We’ve blogged before about our Business Factors Index but in this blogpost we’d like to look at the latest results from our SME Tracker.

The SME Tracker surveys 1,000 businesses with up to 250 employees and a turnover of up to £25 million. The latest Tracker asked businesses about their biggest worry, 24 per cent of those surveyed cited an increase in competition, which has come about as a result of the improving economy. Meanwhile, more than one in ten (13 per cent) believed that red-tape is the biggest challenge they’re currently facing.

A different picture

Increased competition is a factor that wasn’t in the equation a few years ago. The economy has now started to recover at a rapid rate and this is reflected in the amount of businesses start-ups reaching an all-time high. According to Companies House, there were 54,336 incorporations in March this year and the figures have been rising steadily since 2009.

It seems that the UK has returned to its entrepreneurial best and this will always have a positive impact on the economy through recruitment and output. This DIY attitude has coupled with the explosion in technology that the digital age has given us. The barrier for entry is dropping for business people who have access to new tools.

The rise of the creative industries

Amongst the sectors that have benefitted most are the creative industries that are now said to be worth £8million an hour to the UK economy.

The creative industries are growing at around 10 per cent per year, outperforming all other sectors. Employing almost 1.7million people, according to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the sector includes advertising and marketing, publishing, IT software and computer services, product, fashion and graphic design and film and TV.

Increasing competition

Increasing competition in any sector can cause a downward pressure on margins. And with larger business often buying up smaller successful starts-ups the business landscape can become very fluid.

In this sort of environment it’s wise for businesses to refocus efforts on developing softer skills such as customer service, becoming a specialist in one area of your sector is also good advice. Having access to funding to help your business grow and stay ahead of the competition is also vital.

Business growth strategy

Here on the Bibby Blog we’ll continue to report on the latest findings from our customers and small businesses in the engine room of the UK economy. If access to finance is something your business needs you could contact Bibby Financial Services online or call 0800 91 95 92 for more advice.

With over 7,000 customers using our services successfully, we want to help UK businesses realise their growth ambitions and prosper using invoice financing as a vital part of their growth strategy.