Aviva’s latest SME Pulse survey shows that small business owners are increasingly diversifying and innovating as they look to capitalise on summer events.
The numbers of SMEs putting on sales and discounts or diversifying into new areas have increased in the last six months but according to Aviva, many are putting themselves at risk by failing to update their insurance policies to match their changing business circumstances.
Around a fifth of respondents had made temporary changes to their business in response to this summer’s calendar of events, with changes including increasing opening hours (37%), raising stock levels (35%) and taking on extra staff (32%).
However, only half of this group had checked with their insurance broker to see if the changes require alterations to their insurance policy.
The pattern is similar for the 13% of SMEs who have made long-term changes to their business this summer but with a larger number (66%) checking with their broker on the impact of lasting alterations.
Aviva’s commercial product manager, David Bruce, comments: “Even the smallest changes to a business can affect the insurance policy that needs to be in place.”
He adds: “Insurance brokers are a fantastic resource for information on these types of issues and should be a first port of call for SMEs when they’re looking to alter their business.”
Returning to the SME trading environment, this remains tough for many with only 6% of SMEs reporting that conditions were “easier than expected” during the first half of 2012, down from 22% six months ago.
Meanwhile, those who found trading conditions “as expected” increased from 36% to 50%, as SMEs made a more realistic assessment of their prospects.
Looking ahead, small businesses are polarised on trading for the rest of 2012.
While 28% say they expect strong or improved sales in the second half, and 37% expect average sales, 20% of respondents are expecting poor sales and 15% are “unsure” of sales levels.