In the latest SME Risk Index from Zurich, which surveyed over 500 senior decision makers, 16% of small and medium-sized businesses said financial pressure could drive them out of business by the end of 2013.
Small retailers felt particularly at risk, with 21% saying they were at risk of going out of business – an increase from 12% in the last quarter. The figure is even more worrying with small construction firms, where 37% feel at risk.
The survey also evaluated the measures small businesses are taking to avoid risk. These included implementing tighter financial controls, hiring more skilled staff, and reviewing their insurance arrangements.
Richard Coleman, Director of SME, Zurich, said: “There’s no doubt that it’s still tough out there for UK SMEs, and these figures seem to indicate rising levels of concern, as increasing numbers of businesses appear at risk of succumbing to financial pressures.”
He continued: “While 2013 will certainly be a challenging year for the UK economy, it is fantastic to see some SMEs already looking to expand and hire staff. With SMEs at the heart of our economy, we must make the most of these positive signs if we are to return to more stable growth patterns.”