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Huge Number of British SMEs ‘Would Fail if Founders Left on Short Notice’

Written by: Keith Tully

Reviewed: Thursday 29th October, 2015

Many thousands of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) would fail and be forced out of business if their founders were to leave on short notice.

At least that’s according to many of the people who work for SMEs in different parts of the country, who were polled on the subject recently by the IT services company Network ROI.

The research suggests that a third of SME employees are of the opinion that their company would not survive if its founder were to leave the business unexpectedly.

In the Midlands and in Scotland, that figure was notably higher, with 50 per cent of employees in both those parts of the UK convinced that their business would not be able to survive the sudden departure of its founder.

Furthermore, in those regions, the apparent view of a quarter of SME employees is that their companies would not be able to continue operating for more than one month if their founder were to leave on short notice.

Northern Ireland was found to be the part of the UK in which SME employees apparently have the greatest degree of confidence in the resilience of their businesses, with two-thirds convinced that their company could survive the sudden departure of a founder.

“We carried out a business continuity and succession planning survey to get a better understanding of attitudes towards these issues within the UK small business community,” explained Network ROI’s managing director Sean Elliot.

“The results showed that business continuity is an area that requires a greater deal of investment and understanding, especially within the SME space.”

SMEs represent a vital engine of expansion in the UK economy but a study conducted earlier this year by the banking group Barclays found that a quarter have no documented plan for how they will target growth.

The same study by the financial services giant also found that only 49 per cent of decision makers at British SMEs had plans in place for how their company would function if circumstances were to change suddenly and they were left unable to lead the business. 

Keith Tully

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Keith has been involved in Business Rescue since 1992, during which time he’s worked for both independent and national firms. His specialties include company restructuring matters and negotiating with HMRC on his clients behalf.

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