Small firms say they lack faith in official stats

Ben Southwood
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SMALL FIRMS have little faith in official forecasts, preferring instead to rely on information from their own business or their peers, a survey from Axa has revealed.

A whopping 92 per cent of respondents said they did not use official government economic predictions in planning their business strategy, the survey showed.

Of those disregarding the government’s outlook, 58 per cent said the forecasts were irrelevant to them, while almost a third said it was because the predictions were inaccurate.

“The UK’s small business community has long relied on help from a variety of sources to inform their business plans – be they government bodies, trade organisations, industry peers or others,” said Darrell Sansom at Axa.

“The old adage that ‘knowledge is power’ has never been more true,” Sansom claimed.

But the survey seems to show a population of fiercely independent small businesses, who are unwilling to go outside the firm to get this knowledge – some 83 per cent said they do not plan to seek external advice on their business at all this year.

In the 17 per cent minority who did plan to seek external advice, the biggest fraction, 37 per cent, said they turned to online business figures for advice.

The second most popular response, coming from 29 per cent of respondents, was that they gleaned information from business networks, while 28 per cent sought advice from an accountant and 26 per cent from their bank.

Government bodies, such as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, did not place in the top 13 responses recorded by the survey, but 26 per cent of respondents said they took advice from a family member.