Survey ranks people as most important factor for SMEs.

People count.

The latest  Close Brothers Business Barometer survey has found SMEs in the UK and Ireland believe that people are the most important factor in their success, according. Considering what contributes to their business’ worth, nearly two fifths (38 per cent) of SMEs say that their employees add the most value. Interestingly, this is true across all sectors and regardless of size, but companies with the smallest teams, between one and ten members of staff, are most likely to rate people as their number one value-add (43 per cent).

After workers, companies say that products (22 per cent), brand (15 per cent) and assets (13 per cent) are key to their firm’s market price. Larger SMEs with more than 250 employees, put more emphasis on brand, while smaller businesses with fewer than 61 people working for them, say premises and property are most valuable.

The survey also found that nearly half (45 per cent) of SMEs have acquired an accurate business valuation. Motives vary, with senior decision makers citing obtaining finance (31 per cent) and preparing an exit strategy (32 per cent) as the main reasons.

Some companies also say that they use valuations to measure progress. Of those that have been valued, 70 per cent say they have grown in value over the last year and nearly half (48 per cent) say they have done so by more than ten per cent. Looking ahead, 38 per cent of SMEs say that achieving growth is their main priority.

“Business valuations can be useful to determine monetary value, but SMEs should remember that they are not the only marker of achievement,” said David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice and Speciality Finance. “When we work with businesses, we consider the bigger picture, looking at factors such as objectives and potential, rather than just industry and turnover.

“I am pleased to see SMEs recognise that ‘soft assets’, such as their human resources, are an integral part of commercial success,” he added. “At Close Brothers, we’re proud to offer a people-led service because we know that with the correct skills, experience and hard work, the chances of thriving in long-term dramatically increase.”

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