Client Retention a Big Worry for SMEs

Despite recent signs of economic growth and a reported upturn on the horizon, a staggering 63% of UK business owners continue to worry about losing clients.

While struggling to cope with ongoing recessionary pressures, UK business owners are being forced to focus on client retention to ensure their firms stay afloat, according to new research from the leading business finance provider, Bibby Financial Services.

The survey, designed to investigate the recessionary attitudes and behaviour of more than 300 business owners from a range of sectors across the UK also showed that, rather than chasing new revenue streams, half (50%) of UK firms are aiming to build better relationships with existing clients and almost two thirds (63%) are now scrutinising suppliers more carefully.

More positively, almost half (47%) of business owners have seemingly become more aware of cash flow and have decreased debt levels since the beginning of the recession. And UK firms are clearly benefitting from reviewing these processes, with 43% reporting the return of lapsed customers.

Edward Rimmer, UK chief executive at Bibby Financial Services, said:

“Following the economic uncertainty of the past two years it is perhaps no surprise that companies still have concerns about maintaining current levels of business. But owners and managers are learning from their recessionary experience and making changes to their business which will benefit them in the long term.”

“However, occasionally there will be factors affecting their business which are beyond their control, such as late payment, for example. Indeed, the business owners we surveyed reported that only 19% have seen customers decrease payment times. And, despite the fact over half of business owners are focusing more on managing late payment, it’s clear cash flow is still being affected.”

“Proactive business owners looking to manage their company out of the recession by reviewing all survival strategies would be wise not to forget about cash flow – as our research shows, it truly is the lifeblood of business”

Bibby Financial Services is able to help businesses reviewing credit management processes by offering alternative solutions, such as invoice finance, and currently assists around 3000 firms in the UK with their cash flow requirements.

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