Hardy 10 per cent of small firms claim to have no business problems

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A survey of small enterprises carried out by Milton Keynes academics has identified a rare group of firms that claim to have no business problems.

The Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain, produced by The Open University, has however foundthe economic climate and its negative impact on demand remains by far the ‘top’ business problem, identified by more than a third of respondents.

Professor Rebecca Taylor, Dean of The Open University Business School, said: “The latest findings show us that some firms are proving more resilient than others in the face of very tough trading conditions.

“We already know that firm size, sector and region are important influences on firm performance. This study highlights just how critical it is for us to take a much closer look at the skills and capabilities that SME owners and managers need if they are to keep their businesses on track in these challenging times.”

The Quarterly Survey of Small Business in Britain was conducted by the Open University Business School and supported by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Barclays Bank.

More than 1,040 firms responded to the survey which also found overall performance is largely unchanged from the previous quarter, with a slight decline in the proportion of firms that have seen their sales improve over the same quarter in 2011.

The survey found that firms in the £1m to £5m turnover band are most optimistic about their sales, while the smallest firms are most pessimistic.

The full survey is available as a free PDF download at: www.open.ac.uk/quarterly-survey