Here are the week’s main news stories in the world of small business and e-payments:
Stress levels soar among small business owners
A range of factors are putting an increasing strain on the mental health of SME owners, according to research by small business platform Xero. The main causes of business stress are: managing staff (42 per cent), admin (35 per cent), feeling personally responsible for the success of the company (31 per cent) and filing taxes (19 per cent). One in ten (11 per cent) felt vulnerable to economic conditions and one in four (26 per cent) admitted feeling stressed by compliance requirements. The study of 500 small business owners found that 83 per cent have experienced stress in the past six months, with 49 per cent saying they have been more stressed than normal and 17 per cent admitting they are ‘highly stressed’. The negative effects include sleepless nights, drinking more alcohol, and arguments at home.
Mobile wallets expand in Europe
Mobile payment adoption is increasing in Europe, according to a new ResearchAndMarkets report highlighting trends in the European online payments market. The Europe Online Payment Methods 2019 report reveals that Scandinavian nations and the UK are leaders in this trend, especially when it comes to making mobile payments in-store. Payments to European e-commerce platforms are still dominated by digital wallets and credit cards, accounting for nearly three-quarters of e-commerce sales in Europe in 2018. Europe has some way to go, however, says another report from the same group, finding that more than one in two smartphone users in the Asia-Pacific region are expected to pay using a mobile device in 2019.
A third of UK business owners lose business motivation
Many business owners start companies to pursue their passion, but 32 per cent of UK small business owners have completely lost the motivation to run their company since starting up, according to a new survey by Vistaprint. Of those, 24 per cent experience this feeling several times a year. When considering the factors most likely to make UK entrepreneurs lose their business mojo, money worries were top. Lack of a regular/stable salary is the most common reason for losing motivation, followed by high levels of stress and lower than expected earning potential.
GoCardless secures $75 Million series E investment
UK-based payments platform GoCardless has secured $75 million in series E investment, led by new investors Adams Street Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Salesforce Ventures, GoCardless describes itself as a next-generation payments company that makes it cheap and easy for anyone to take payments online using its Direct Debit infrastructure.. According to GoCardless, the series E investment takes the total amount raised to $123 million.
Small firms likely to be hit by Honda’s Swindon closure
The head of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry, has said the planned closure of the Honda plant in Swindon is “not only devastating for the skilled workforce employed there, but a very worrying time for all the small businesses throughout Honda’s supply chain, and especially local firms in the surrounding area”. There is a large network of businesses throughout Honda’s supply chain that will be impacted by the closure, including caterers, cleaners and “thousands” of small businesses that rely heavily on the Swindon plant.
Barclays launches Brexit 'clinics' for small businesses
Barclays will host more than 100 clinics for small business customers in March in preparation for Britain's exit from the European Union at the end of that month. The events, held in branches, will see about 1,500 Barclays staff will to businesses about managing their cashflow, exporting goods, supply chain management and other issues as the March 29 Brexit deadline approaches. Barclays said it will invite about 5,000 business customers to attend the events in the next few weeks.