Cash flow tops worry list for business owners, survey finds

The fear of running out of cash is the thing most likely to keep business owners awake at night, according to a survey by a Preston-based business advisory firm.

The online poll, conducted by Moore and Smalley, revealed that a third (32 per cent) of business owners list cashflow problems as the biggest fear and the greatest threat to their business.

The thought of losing a major customer kept one in four (26 per cent) of entrepreneurs tossing and turning at night, while having to sacrifice time spent with friends and family to focus on the success of the business was the third most pressing concern, with 22 per cent of respondents noting this worry.

In a sign of the times, one in ten business owners (11 per cent) admitted that the thought of getting a flurry of bad online reviews or having customers turn on them on social media was their biggest worry.

Damian Walmsley, partner at Moore and Smalley, said: “Cash, or the lack of it, is undeniably the biggest threat to any business. If a business doesn’t have cash, it lacks the working capital to grow and ultimately this will threaten the business. It is little wonder that business owners list this as their primary concern, particularly in these austere times when it is hard to get paid on time.

“It once again demonstrates the need for businesses to keep a tight rein on expenditure, to understand and forecast their cash position, and to have good systems and procedures in place for getting cash into the business.”

The survey also revealed that HR issues, such as staffing problems and the prospect of employment claims, were a fear for some business owners (4 per cent). Those running businesses were also worried about other operational threats, such as IT failure (4 per cent). Damian added: “The results of this survey show that business owners are aware of a number of threats to their business. To prevent these issues becoming major worries and hindering the growth of their business, they need to have a clear plan in place and to ensure they get good advice from trusted professional partners.”