Wednesday, July 11, 2001

The June survey results show how pressures on profit margins are currently changing for smaller businesses and what they believe may lie ahead. It also examines recent cash availability and familiarity with Intellectual Property issues. Results are summarised here but for the complete analysis please visit results

  • Nearly 60% of smaller businesses responding to the Survey have experienced increases in pressure on profit margins over the last six months, either by a little or substantially.

  • 47% of respondents expect a little increase in pressure on profit margins in the next six months, while 15% expect substantial increases.

  • 50% of respondents have found that their holdings of cash and bank deposits have fallen in the last six months, while 27% of respondents experienced increases.

  • Borrowing by 38% of respondents has increased, but for 49%, the level of borrowing has not changed.

  • There is a wide range of awareness on Intellectual Property issues. While 41% agreed that there is a need for more widely dispersed and user-friendly information on the protection of Intellectual Property, 53% either didn't know or had no strong opinion either way.

  • Only 7% acknowledged any awareness of recent developments in the treatment of Intellectual Property while 76% were either not at all or barely aware.

  • Only 1% was very confident that their Intellectual Property was adequately protected, and while 11% were somewhat confident, at the other end of the scale 25% were not confident and 27% didn't know.

  • A slightly higher percentage of businesses (40%) reported that they are highly constrained, or nearly so, by skill shortages than in the May Survey (37%)

  • Business constraint by lack of finance and by low market demand was not significantly changed from the May Survey results.

  • Businesses are still reporting significant expansion over the last three months, at 8% in the June Survey compared with 5% in May. The percentage at the 'expanded somewhat' level was 31% (May 38%).

  • Although a considerable percentage of businesses (42%) still expect to expand by up to or over 10% in the next quarter, this is lower than in May (48%), and a higher percentage (16%) than in May (14%) expect to decline by up to or more than 10%.

rick.eagles@nottingham.ac.uk / Tel: 0115 84 66860.