The working definition of a European SME (Small to Medium Sized Enterprise) is a business with less than 250 employees and an annual turnover below 50 million Euros. There are almost six million SME businesses in Britain today. That makes up 99% of all UK businesses. When we think of shopping for groceries, gifts, clothing or tech equipment, there are big company names we all know. But our economy – like every economy – is driven by the smaller operations, in these sectors and others. Here you’ll find innovators who work around the clock to find ways to succeed. They can only succeed by delivering excellence, so we as customers are constantly benefitting.
SMEs drive growth, broaden employment opportunities and open up new markets. A recent study by Santander showed that SMEs contribute to 51% of all turnover generated by the private sector. They employ over 16 million people, contributing to 60% of all jobs in the UK. SMEs have created over two million jobs in the past five years alone.
They’ll continue to do that as long as they remain solvent, and in uncertain times that doesn’t just mean hard work and good operational management. It also means being paid what you’re owed. Now more than ever, the businesses that mean so much to our communities need healthy cash flow.
On average, Britain’s small businesses are each owed £80,000 by their customers. Late payments need to be chased, and the time and cost of the chase is a huge drain on investment and productivity. It’s not just their problem; it’s everyone’s problem. These are uncertain times but we will get through them, and when we do we’ll need the engine of our economy running. That retailer that’s keeping its lights on for you. That tech company that’s looking for solutions that are both innovative and environmentally friendly. We all owe them a debt. And if they’re supplying you, then you owe them an immediate debt. Please do the right thing.
- Don’t make them wait for payment
- Don’t make them waste time and money chasing overdue invoices when they could be using that time and money in your service
- Help them keep the engine running
Britain’s SME business owners and their employees are innovators who will help us light the way in the 2020s and consumers whose spending will drive other businesses forward. They are paying their way. If you’re one of their customers, please pay yours.