Service providers don’t care: 60% of SMEs feel neglected and underserved by their service provider
Over half of SMEs (51%) would be happy to work with a disruptive challenger business
Design and innovation consultancy Adaptive Lab today releases its ‘SMEs: Smallish Misunderstood Enterprises’ report, highlighting SME attitudes towards their services providers, including utilities, telecoms networks, financial services. The study uncovers that a lack of empathy and generic product offering from large corporations drives dissatisfaction and barriers to growth for the SME sector.
Based on a survey of 500 SMEs across the UK, along with in-depth interviews with business owners, the downloadable report explores how business service providers can succeed in an underserved and undervalued, yet profitable market. The study aims to help providers understand the small and medium-sized business community’s unique wants and needs.
Identifying a number of disconnects between what SMEs expect from their service providers and the reality, Adaptive Lab’s study reveals that 56% of SMEs don’t trust corporations to understand the challenges of running a small business. 59% of business owners surveyed think that services offered by corporate service providers are ‘a one-size fits all’ and not tailored to their needs.
The report outlines how SMEs should be categorised, according to each businesses’ unique ambition and complexity. One size does not fit all as over 60% of the high ambition businesses* feel underserved and undervalued by their big service providers, while over half (55%) of mid ambition SMEs admit they believe that large corporate service providers often make them feel small and unimportant.
In addition, the report exposes more warning signs for traditional providers. Over half of SMEs (51%) said they would trust challenger and start up businesses to provide their services. SMEs prefer smaller, more empathetic service providers, who know what it’s like. Alongside this perception, 58% perceive a smaller business as more innovative and agile in developing products for their needs than a big corporate.
Chris Moisan, Principal at Adaptive Lab commented:
“Working with business service providers we saw the same thing time and time again. Most service providers approach the SME segment as a homogeneous community, ignoring their diversity and unique needs. Is the definition of an SME still fit for purpose? The small and medium business sector is a mighty force in our economy. The opportunities are huge for any business willing to rethink their approach and reimagine services for SMEs so we wanted to better understand the issues and scope of possibilities for both sides.”
For any of the service categories Adaptive Lab surveyed, including telecoms, banking and insurance, business owners struggle to distinguish between the levels of service they used in their personal lives and the small business service they used in their professional lives. 42% of SME owners shared that the digital experience of their business products and services lagged behind that of their personal, yet the business services were often more expensive.
When it comes to what business owners and key decision makers think of themselves, half of those surveyed stated they think their needs are unique, and a fifth wouldn’t even classify themselves as an SME.
Comment on this further, Moisan added:
“Given the prevalent attitudes, mis-labelling and lack of empathy shown by existing providers, it’s no surprise that high levels of disloyalty exist amongst small business owners. In the case of such categories as insurance, utilities and telecoms, this survey found more than a third of SMEs expect to switch in the next 12 months.”
In fact, many SMEs are so hungry for better quality products and services that they would even be willing to pay more for them. Around 55% say they would be happy to pay a premium for an offering that was simple and easy to use as it would free up time to focus on their business.
The ‘SMEs: Smallish Misunderstood Enterprises’ report details the huge opportunity and threat
to incumbents and recommends specific steps that service providers can do to win with SMEs, including:
Opportunity and threat to incumbents
· Switching behaviours by category
· Why SMEs prefer smaller, more empathetic service providers
· The business case: SMEs are willing to pay for better services
Winning with SMEs: creating services they’ll love
· How services providers can address key functional needs of SMEs (simplicity, flexibility, scalability, accessibility and agility)
· How providers can support the emotional needs of SME business owners (empathy, support, connection, and validation)
· How a more meaningful segmentation rich in context can underpin a winning strategy
UK business interruption insurance anguish far from over
By Carolyn Cohn
LONDON (Reuters) – Insurers in Britain have begun making interim payments or settlement offers to businesses disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic after a high-profile January court case, but concerns have been raised about low payouts, with one business offered as little as 13 pounds ($18.14).
The UK Supreme Court dismissed appeals by insurers that said business interruption insurance claims were not valid in a test case brought by Britain’s markets watchdog on behalf of policyholders.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the case could affect 370,000 policyholders and 60 insurers, with the potential for billions of pounds in claims.
Many small businesses had policies that enabled them to claim a maximum of 50,000-100,000 pounds for disruption caused by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.
However, East London cafe Woolidando told Reuters by email that it had received a settlement offer totalling only 13 pounds, confirming a report in the Sunday Times.
A source from the Hiscox Action Group of policyholders said he was aware of an even lower offer being made, while other members of the group have yet to receive offers or interim payments.
“We are paying claims as quickly as possible in line with the Supreme Court judgment,” Hiscox said in an emailed statement. “In total, we expect to pay out $475 million in COVID-19 claims, including for business interruption.”
After the court ruling the FCA asked insurers to start making payments quickly.
Six insurers, including Hiscox, were directly involved in the case. Of the other five, RSA last week told Reuters it had started making payments.
QBE on Monday said that it has also made payments while MS Amlin said it had assigned a loss adjuster to all open claims and was contacting policyholders.
Argenta, meanwhile, referred to a statement on its website that it would apply the judgment in respect of all outstanding claims.
The other insurer, Arch, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said some of the trade body’s members had received interim payouts of 25,000 pounds each or settlement offers for the maximum 100,000 pounds permitted under their policies, though their losses were even higher.
However, smaller businesses that have yet to receive offers fear they might receive low payments while insurers not among those directly involved in the court case are still contesting liability, Kill said.
The FCA has also warned insurers against blanket deductions of government support from money they owe to businesses.
Woolidando said part of the reason its settlement offer was so low was that deductions were made for government furlough payments.
“As (furlough payments) do not cover a loss incurred by the claimant, (they) should not be included in any claim,” the Association of British Insurers said.
(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn; Editing by David Goodman)
Pent-up demand driving global factory revival
By Jonathan Cable and Leika Kihara
LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) – Demand for manufactured goods drove extended growth in factories across Europe and Asia in February, but a slowdown in China underscored the challenges countries face as they seek a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic blow.
Restrictions imposed around the world to try and quell the spread of the coronavirus have shuttered vast swathes of the services industry, meaning it has fallen to manufacturers to support economies.
But vaccine rollouts and a pick-up in demand provided optimism for businesses that have grappled for months with a cash-flow crunch and falling profits.
IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to a three-year high of 57.9 in February from January’s 54.8, beating the initial 57.7 “flash” estimate for one of the highest readings in the survey’s 20-year history. [EUR/PMIM]
German factory activity also reached a three-year peak last month and in France the pace of growth accelerated. Italy and Spain also saw a pick-up.
However, lockdown measures disrupted supply chains and factories struggled to obtain raw materials, leading to a big increase in delivery times.
“International shipping delays and strong global demand for raw materials have slowed manufacturers worldwide,” said Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Factories in Britain, outside the euro zone and the European Union, reported the slowest output growth since May last month. Disruptions and rising costs linked to Brexit and COVID-19 limited their ability to respond to a modest pick-up in orders. [GB/PMIM]
Manufacturing activity in Japan expanded at the fastest pace in over two years and South Korea’s exports rose for a fourth straight month, suggesting Asia’s export-reliant economies were benefiting from robust global trade.
On the flip side, China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in nine months, hit by a domestic flare-up of COVID-19 and soft demand from countries under renewed lock-down measures.
“In all, the softer pace of activity in today’s (Chinese) manufacturing print is likely to be temporary, and we expect the growth momentum to pick back up on the back of a broadening out of the domestic demand recovery and a pick-up in global demand,” said Erin Xin, an economist at HSBC.
“However, household consumption, while recovering, has not yet fully reached pre-pandemic levels of growth due to continued labour market pressure.”
China was the first major economy to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 shock, so any signs of prolonged cooling in Asia’s growth engine will likely be a cause for concern.
With the global rebound still in its early days, analysts said the outlook was brightening as companies increased output to restock inventory on hopes vaccine rollouts normalise economic activity.
“The recovery in durable-goods demand is continuing, which is creating a positive cycle for manufacturers in Asia,” said Shigeto Nagai, head of Japan economics at Oxford Economics.
“As vaccine rollouts ease uncertainties over the outlook, capital expenditure will gradually pick up. That will benefit Japan, which is strong in exports of capital goods,” he said.
China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing PMI fell to 50.9 in February, the lowest level since last May but still above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
Activity elsewhere in Asia remained brisk.
The Japan PMI jumped to its highest since December 2018. In South Korea, a regional exports bellwether, shipments jumped 9.5% for a fourth straight month of increase.
India’s factory activity expanded for the seventh consecutive month on strong demand and increased output, though a spike in input costs could weigh on corporate profits ahead.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam also saw manufacturing activity expand in February, a sign the region was recovering from the initial hit of the pandemic.
(Reporting by Jonathan Cable and Leika Kihara; editing by Shri Navaratnam, Larry King)
How to Find LLC Owners with Business and People Searches
In any business, it is important that records are kept in the interest of transparency. When somebody becomes the director of a company or starts an LLC there will likely be a record of this, meaning that people can search for those who are involved in companies. This can be a way to check peoples’ assets or find out who you need to contact within a business.
Strategies to Find Business Owners
There are a number of steps you can take in order to find business owners. Some of them are relatively simple but if you have to delve a little bit deeper then it can be more complex.
- Make a call. This is the most simple way of finding business owners. If you have a contact number for the company, give them a call and simply ask for these details. You may or may not get what you are looking for.
- Check the company website. Similarly, company websites often have staff pages or information about the corporate structure of a business. You may find the owners here.
- Do a little social media digging. Who is an admin on the Facebook page? Is there information listed on the “about” section of Facebook? This kind of digging might be required to find LLC owners.
- Domain lookup. You can look up the owners of a domain to see what name it is under. This will often be the company owner. These are sometimes switched to private.
- Read the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Reports. The BBB allows data about businesses to be collected for the transparency of customers and finding trustworthy business owners. The reports might outline who is involved in the company.
- Search State Databases of Registered Businesses. In the US, each state has its own registry. Check what is available within the state where you live, as you might be able to find the information on the database.
- Contact Local Business Licensing or Regulatory Agencies. Some businesses require a license, and disclosure on the owners of the LLC involved. The regulatory agencies may have a public database showing the owners of the business.
- Use Public Records to Find More Information. There is some skill to finding the right data. You might need to look at state records such as court records of incorporation. If the company is British, UK publicly available data includes the company’s house, which shows directors and director changes and is searchable by anyone.
Which Records are Accessible to the Public in UK?
There are different laws dictating what is available in different parts of the world. People have a right to privacy, to an extent, but if you are involved in a company you must also be accountable.
The Freedom of Information Act allows access to a number of different records. This is all about transparency, and giving people the chance to check information such as court records and those involved in certain businesses. These records come in useful in many different scenarios including probation, or as an employment check to establish someone’s history. They can also show you LLC owners.
A people search might allow you to see all businesses that someone has been involved in as a director. Details on the electoral roll may also be kept and made available.
Registered Business Structures
Business structures can dictate how much information needs to be provided. For an LLC, articles of organization with the company structure must be filed with a state and may become public record.
Different business structures have different levels of responsibility when it comes to publishing details. So, a sole proprietor might not have to make the same level of information available.
When and Why You Might Need These Data
There are a lot of different reasons why you might need to find LLC owners. For example, you might need to know who to pursue in legal proceedings.
Alternatively, you might want to check that someone is being legitimate before signing a contract or lease with them, so that you don’t get scammed. Public records can help with this.
If an LLC owes you money, finding the individuals involved might allow you more routes to pursue in terms of getting money back.
Law Regulations on People Search
The laws are different for each state, but there are some regulations on what you can or cannot use the information for. Public data is available for the sake of transparency. It doesn’t mean that you should be able to stalk people. People may also have the right to request some public records are taken off the records. Things like court information are likely to stay public, though.
Check your local state law to see what information is made public under the Freedom of Information Act.
People who run businesses should be accountable, and the fact that you can find the owners of an LLC by using a public search ensures that people cannot get away with breaking the law or trying to scam you anonymously. Often, it is incredibly easy to find this kind of information online or using a public records search.
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