Retaining clients is the biggest cause of stress for SME owners

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Retaining clients is the most stressful part of running a small business’s finances, according to a new survey of more than a thousand British entrepreneurs.

In a study by Solution Loans, 64 per cent of SME owners said they think the most stressful part of their job is keeping hold of their existing customers.

60 per cent said managing their cash flow caused them stress, 58 per cent said continuing to turn a profit was a worry and 52 per cent said late payments were a big pressure point. Meanwhile, 48 per cent said they are concerned about attracting new business.

The results were fairly consistent when grouped by the owners’ ages, genders and locations.

However, while 62 per cent of men were worried about losing existing clients, this dropped to 58 per cent of women, whose biggest concern was managing their cash flow at 61 per cent.

There were also differences between the generations. While 64 per cent of SME owners aged between 18 and 24 were worried about retaining clients, 64 per cent of those aged between 25 and 34 were concerned about managing their cash flow and 88 per cent of those aged between 35 and 44 were worried about continuing to remain profitable.

And while the biggest concern in England was losing existing clients at 63 per cent, in Scotland it was late payment from clients at 67 per cent.

Last month, SME reported that more than a quarter of small business owners struggle with depression, anxiety, stress or other issues caused by the worry of late payments.

And another study revealed that late payments from clients left UK SMEs £266 billion out of pocket last year, limiting their ability to grow and create more jobs.

Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to woo small business owners ahead of Thursday’s general election with a promise to crack down on late payments.

For more from the survey, see the Solution Loans website.


Photo © franchise opportunities (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped.

  • One has to ask what sense there is in trying to retain clients that persistently pay late and jeopardise SME suppliers

  • Jaslynn Joan

    It’s absolutely true! Retaining existing customer is really a very tough task for the business owners. There are so many possibilities for the clients to drop their dealings, it makes them very stressful.

    Jaslynn, Bizbillab2b