Retail revealed as one of the most challenging industries to run small company

A YouGov study launched by First Data Merchant Solutions finds that running a small retail business is often more challenging than expected.

Key findings include:

  • Over 1 in five (21%) small retailers describe running their business as 'much more challenging than they expected
    • This is more than double the average across all industries, which is just 10%
    • 41% of small retailers admit it is more challenging than expected
  • 72% describe running a small business in the retail sector as 'a constant challenge'
  • Top chores that are more challenging than expected for small retailers include
    • Generating revenue (45%)
    • Accounting and tracking finances (34%)
    • Managing inventory (23%)
  • Nearly half (47%) describe running a small retail business as 'time consuming'
  • So much so, that 48% of small retailers have missed occasions including weddings, birthdays and anniversaries because they are too busy running their small independent business
    • More than one in 10 have missed their own birthday celebration
    • Nearly one in five have (18%) have missed picking their child up from school
  • Admin is keeping small retailers busy! 20% of small retailers spend on average more than 10 hours per day across the company on 'behind the scenes admin'
    • 20% say that support with behind the scenes admin could help them to complete with their larger counterparts in the retail sector
  • Fear of handing control over to employees is also keeping small retailers busy. 48% worry about handing control over to staff when taking time away from their business, with 64% worrying that staff will make accidental errors in their absence.
  • Perhaps not surprising, when 54% started small retail business to gain more 'control'.

Raj Sond, general manager at First Data Merchant Solutions, comments: "It is a real shame to see that administrative tasks are overwhelming SMEs to the point that they are unable to focus on growing their businesses. It is quite commonplace for business owners to be reluctant to hand over the reins in their absence, but running a small business should be an exciting adventure, not a barrier to leading a normal life. Most businesses are born from a spark and a real passion for something. Unfortunately, the reality is that this enthusiasm becomes diluted by the drudgery of time-consuming administrative activities. SME owners need to replicate the power of larger retailers to simplify the running of their businesses and they should look to technologies that can help them achieve this and ensure they don't extinguish that spark."

Despite these challenges there are platforms that can help SMEs save time and also grow their business. First Data Merchant Solution's newly launched Clover Station helps merchants track inventory, manage employees, build lasting customer relationships, and accept payments with ease — all on one integrated platform.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,020 senior decision makers from SMEs (less than 250 employees), of which 520 are owners. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th - 11th August 2014. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.

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