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Have you faced a ‘moment of crisis’ in business?

Barclaycard research reveals the ‘moment of crisis’ that many businesses have faced.

There’s no shortage of topics for small business owners to keep on top of today, from payments and cash flow to staffing and regulation.

Among the leaders of the UK’s scaling businesses* – defined as those with at least 10 employees and an average of 20% or more annual growth in the last three years – almost six in 10 have faced a moment of uncertainty when they were afraid their business would fail, research from Barclaycard** has revealed.

But what exactly is keeping the leaders of the nation’s growing businesses up at night?

The top three challenges facing the UK’s growing business leaders:

1. Employee wellbeing and satisfaction

2. Finding and retaining talent

3. Standing out from the competition and maintaining customer service standards

Employee wellbeing and satisfaction came out as the top concern for scale-up leaders, followed by finding and holding onto talent as the second biggest issue, while standing out from the competition and maintaining customer service standards came in at joint third place.

Almost six in 10 leaders have faced a moment of uncertainty when they were afraid their business would fail.

In the face of challenges, the vast majority of growing companies – more than nine in 10 – look outside of their business for help. More than a quarter said they turn to their bank for advice and support when it comes to tackling problems and growing the business, while 22% call on IT providers and an equal amount look to local business networks, the research found.

Moment of crisis in business

If scale ups can access the help they need to overcome the pain points of growth, they will be much better positioned to build a successful business both in the short and long-term.

According to Konrad Kelling, Managing Director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, accessing support during the growth phase is key for small businesses to thrive. 

“Whether they’re looking to trade internationally, launch a new product line or update their payment technology to meet customer demand, in today’s uncertain economic environment, growing businesses should lean on their partners for advice and support,” Kelling said.

“If scale ups can access the help they need to overcome the pain points of growth, they will be much better positioned to build a successful business both in the short and long-term.” 


* A ‘scale up business’ is defined as a company which has seen average annualised growth of at least 20 per cent in last three years with 10 or more employees at the start of the period, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD ).

** Research was carried out by Opinium between 22 January and 14 February 2019. 500 online interviews were conducted with senior decision-makers in businesses that meet the OECD’s definition of a ‘scale up business’.

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