Almost half of UK SMEs feel they have nobody to confide with – AXA

Insurer's report coincides with the announcement of winners of its start-up accelerator

Almost half of UK SMEs feel they have nobody to confide with – AXA


By Lyle Adriano

Nearly half of business owners in the UK feel that they have nobody to entrust in about their issues and stress, a new report from AXA UK has found.

The report noted that among the 500 small business owners surveyed by OnePoll on behalf of AXA UK, two in three indicated that they do not think they can talk to friends or family about the stress they feel because they do not want to worry them. Meanwhile, 48% find it difficult to know who they can talk to about their business troubles. As a result, 44% feel they are unable to do the best possible job for both them and their staff.

Among the possible stressors SMEs worry about the most, the standouts identified by the poll include the cost-of-living crisis (45%), finding new customers (37%), and inflation (35%).

“It can be a very lonely place being an SME owner, which is why it is so important to ensure you can confide in someone who can relate to how you feel,” said AXA UK and Ireland CEO Claudio Gienal. “Especially for those who have built much of their business alone, it can feel very strange opening up about what is going on in your workplace.”

“But for many, taking those first steps and talking through what you are concerned about goes a long way to lifting that burden – it can offer a new perspective on what’s going on, as well as a renewed sense of clarity to the situation. When it comes to looking for support, there are many avenues business owners can take; for example, having robust insurance can help to take a weight off the mind,” the CEO added.

Communicating with staff can help SMEs prepare for future issues, but there are some reservations, AXA UK found. The report noted that more than a third (34%) of SMEs with employees on the payroll say they are very open with staff about potential issues the business could encounter. But another 38% will only reveal a selected amount of information relating to the problems they could face.

AXA UK’s survey uncovered that a good number of SMEs go out of their way to care for their staff’s wellbeing – more than half indicated they genuinely care for their employees, and 44% are striving to create a positive work culture.

“To thrive in business, it is so important to have open and honest relationships – and it is fantastic to learn many are doing their utmost to harness positivity in their workplace,” commented Gienal.

The survey results come as AXA UK announces the six winners of its Start Up Angel Competition, wherein the insurer helps small businesses achieve their full potential through financial and mentorship support.

Last week, AXA UK launched a brand new digital-only brand called Moja. Moja is optimised for consumers using smartphones and tablets to shop for insurance online, and its motor insurance is available both through its own website and through – with plans for a wider rollout on other price comparison websites.

Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!