What’s going on in the minds of small and medium business owners? We asked 1,200 business owners across the UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands to tell us about their biggest challenges, highest priorities, and what makes them tick. 

Here’s what business leaders in the UK told us. To get the entire report, download the white paper


Customer-centricity is essential to business success

Of the top ten business needs of SMEs in the UK, five involve customer-centricity. Two needs topped the charts:

  1. Ensuring customer retention and repeat business
  2. Going the extra mile for valued customers

It’s evident that we’re living in the age of the customer, but serving up great customer experiences doesn’t just come down to large businesses that can afford over-the-top marketing campaigns designed to grab headlines. 

Small and medium businesses know it’s about consistency from the start. Investing in efficiency in customer service from the start is a large contributor to an SME’s success and repeat business. In turn, these businesses anticipate that those customers will become their most valuable. 

They’re lagging behind in tech

1 in 3 small businesses in the UK rely on paper filing systems, and 1 in 4 have no system at all. 

That means that those important clients and customers could be gathering dust in a filing cabinet, or relying on the memory of an SME’s top sales person. If that salesperson leaves, all that data will go with them. (Psst, if this applies to you and your business, you should probably look into a CRM system.)

UK businesses aren’t doing too well when it comes to awareness of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, either. Only 1 in 4 (26%) of UK small and medium business stakeholders say that they are aware of CRM systems, and only 1 in 33 (3%) currently utilise them. This is the lowest usage rate of all countries surveyed. The good news? Two in three businesses who use a CRM say it is key to their business.


Two in three SMEs want to grow, but sales is their biggest hurdle

77% of UK small and medium business owners are cautiously optimistic these days, which fell in line with most countries surveyed. When it comes to start-ups, their biggest challenge is sales, with an overwhelming 45% of respondents reporting that sales generation and forecasting was one of their key hurdles. 

Selling to SMEs? Start with an email, build their trust, and give them a good quote

In the UK, most small and medium businesses prefer to be contacted by email rather than face-to-face meetings. Once you’ve got your foot in the door, they want to know who you are and why they should trust you. Lastly, price matters, so do your research and give them a solid quote. They’ll be doing their research, and so should you. About half of businesses ask for multiple quotes.


That’s just the half of it

Download our white paper to learn more about the business behaviours of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK and other core European countries.