A lack of preparation could see some of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises miss out on an economic boost from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A lack of preparation could see some of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) miss out on an economic boost from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) haven’t yet taken basic measures, such as planning to maintain staffing levels or deal with supply chain disruption, according to a study by BT of 600 SMEs.
Some 15 per cent of SMEs say they are already involved in London 2012 and of those, 58 per cent are supplying products and services to the organisers.
Even if they don’t expect to be directly affected themselves, more than two in five (41 per cent) say they have customers in London who will be affected by the Games – and that this in turn will affect their organisation.
Around one in five companies expect to profit from the Games. A third (33 per cent) in the private sector anticipate a sales hike and SMEs in the public sector expect service quality to improve. More than one in five (22 per cent) expect new international business opportunities both during and after London 2012.
Yet, with a million extra UK visitors forecast over the course of the Games, 64 per cent of SMEs expect some negative effects, with supply chain disruption, higher hotel costs, staff attendance and a knock to productivity high among concerns. Over a third of businesses expect resourcing difficulties when staff want time off or are not able to get to work.
Asked about the impact on supply chains, 64 per cent expect some disruption but 40 per cent of these (25 per cent of the total) are not doing anything, seemingly leaving their business continuity to chance.
Colin Hansen, the former British Columbia minister responsible for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games says, ‘British SMEs should be optimistic because the Olympics had a huge economic benefit in Vancouver and across Canada as a whole. But the scale of the event was much bigger than anybody expected and many companies just weren’t geared up for how big the opportunity would be.
‘Nobody in the UK should expect next summer to be business as usual, but with the right plans in place, such as flexible working, every business – large or small – can take advantage of the occasion and seize the long-term economic benefits.’
See also: Tax help for new businesses