Short term blues

BRITAIN’S small and medium-sized businesses are finding it difficult to look to the future.
Research commissioned by energy supplier Npower showed some 57% of the UK’s SMEs are only planning for the next six to 12 months.

The majority of the companies wish they could plan further ahead, but the current economic uncertainty makes it difficult to commit to actions and investments for the long-term.
More than 500 SMEs across the UK were questioned in the research, carried out in December 2012, which looked at attitudes to business and energy planning.

More than half of Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses find it difficult to plan ahead.
More than half of Britain’s small and medium-sized businesses find it difficult to plan ahead.

56% of the surveyed SMEs said they take a planned approach to their businesses’ energy consumption. But a quarter of businesses still don’t implement any form of energy efficiency measures, which means, says Npower, that they could be missing out on opportunities to plan and save.
The firm says 60% of small companies reckon that being able to fix prices, such as their energy supply and other overheads would help them to plan further ahead. 41% of the SMEs see energy efficiency as a key business priority, and 43% have switched energy suppliers at least twice.
Phil Scholes, SME markets director at Npower, said: “It is encouraging to see many SMEs wish they could plan further ahead. While the stability of the economy, which many SMEs cite as a key barrier to forward planning, is not something businesses can control, there are some steps they can take to help. For example, businesses may look to fix the cost of overheads where they can, such as choosing a fixed energy tariff, to help provide the certainty and confidence to plan ahead.”
Npower has launched a ‘Fixed 1 2 3’ energy tariff, which it says gives unit-cost stability, protects from energy price rises for up to three years, and can help SMEs to plan.
“Addressing energy costs by switching suppliers, fixing price and embracing energy efficiency, will improve the bottom line and help small businesses plan confidently for the future,” said Scholes.