The latest figures from the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) show that SMEs account for more than 99% of all UK businesses and nearly half of all private sector employment*. This means the support and growth of local commerce is as important as ever in driving economic stability and opening new markets in communities. This week is Local Business Week (18th-24th May) and is a call to action for the public to support their local enterprises and enable them to compete with bigger businesses that monopolise the high street.
For many SMEs over a third of the working week is spent carrying out simple admin tasks**, which is hindering business growth. This amounts to a lot of wasted time among the 1.1 million appointment-based businesses in the UK, who are being interrupted by customers, and managing appointments, both of which have the possibility of being automated. Up to 5 minutes is spent coordinating or changing each booking, which equates to around 20 million minutes a day across UK SMEs.
Customer no shows are a serious hindrance for appointment-based businesses, costing billions of pounds in lost time. In fact, over 40 million minutes are wasted each day by people coordinating and missing appointments. This affects both large and small businesses; it’s estimated that the NHS loses around £700 million a year from missed appointments.
A recent study by the FSB revealed that tax administration is also a large time waster for small business owners, as they are losing around 12 days a year trying to keep on top of it. This means that UK SMEs could be losing half a billion pounds per year, that could otherwise be used to expand their business.
It’s often the case that the cost of hiring a receptionist or PA is too large of an investment for SMEs, as the average salary for a Personal Assistant is £24,644 per year***. Cost-effective alternatives have since become common, such as online booking systems that take away a large chunk of the admin. To better understand how online booking can benefit local businesses, we spoke to CEO, Matthew Cleevely, from 10to8.com:
“Small businesses spend too much time on managing bookings, customer no-shows and needless admin, which is limiting the time they can actually invest in growing their business and getting more customers.
Online booking systems like 10to8.com mitigate high costs of hiring PAs and money lost on missed appointments – it’s really about providing local businesses with the opportunity to thrive.”
Despite a more positive outlook within the UK economy recently, there are still many barriers remaining for SMEs. Small and medium businesses need to eliminate unnecessary costs and time wasting if they are to make the most of the growth opportunities that are now finally beginning to present themselves.