More than half of small businesses in the UK are expecting trade to decline further in the first three months of 2020, with only a quarter of those surveyed expecting an increase.
Tough trading conditions in the UK persist into the new decade, and are hitting small business confidence hard, according to the Federation of Small Businesses. In its most recent Small Business Index report, FSB Director of External Affairs and Advocacy, Craig Beaumont, said that the past three years have been filled with uncertainty for small businesses, and that the recent UK election caused even more headaches for companies, in terms of planning and growing their businesses.
Staffing costs are a real concern, with few small businesses planning to hire. Rather than increasing headcount to manage more work, businesses are looking online for solutions to automate away repetitive admin tasks, such as converting a PDF to Excel.
Turning to automation to drive down costs
Some businesses are still completing many regular tasks manually, which can be expensive in staff costs. Popular online solutions to regular tasks which can be time-consuming to complete, like the above example of converting a catalogue received as a PDF to Excel format for ease of use in ordering systems, can save valuable employee time, for tasks that need the human touch, such as talking to customers.
Companies such as https://pdftables.com/ are providing valuable solutions for small businesses to help them make the most of their existing staff by automating repetitive tasks, until such time as business confidence improves enough to allow more jobs to be created. Modernising existing processes, and leveraging opportunities for automation where possible, can improve profit margins for some companies, and leave them in a much better position to exploit new opportunities when business conditions improve. Taking the time to take stock of what employees spend their time doing, and to look for more efficient solutions, can help a business expand its customer base without hiring more staff.
It is undoubtedly a tough time to be a small business in the UK. Some may close their doors for good this year. Others may thrive and grow. If you are looking for ways to increase the profitability of your small business, increasing automation may be exactly the helping hand you need.