Small Businesses Rejecting Official Economic Forecasts in Favour of Peer Insights

Small Businesses Rejecting Official Economic Forecasts in Favour of Peer Insights

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Small Businesses Rejecting Official Economic Forecasts in Favour of Peer Insights PR Newswire LONDON, September 10, 2012 LONDON, September 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A survey of UK small businesses has revealed that official government economic projections play no part in the majority of business leaders' planning and decision-making. [ref: q7] The survey, commissioned by AXA Business Insurance, found that a significant majority (92 per cent) of respondents are not using official government economic predictions in their planning processes, despite continued uncertainty over the health of the UK economy. [ref: q7] More than half (58 per cent) of those disregarding government forecasts when reviewing their business plans believed that the predictions were not relevant to their business and nearly a third (31 per cent) did not believe them to be accurate. [ref: q8] Commenting on the findings, Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, Direct and Partnerships at AXA Business Insurance, said: "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. The fact that so many business owners are choosing not to use these sources of data suggests they're tuning into other channels and finding more accurate information flows elsewhere.

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Small Businesses Rejecting Official Economic Forecasts in Favour of Peer Insights
PR Newswire LONDON, September 10, 2012
LONDON,September 10, 2012/PRNewswire/ --
A survey of UK small businesses has revealed that official government economic projections play no part in the majority of business leaders' planning and decision-making. [ref: q7]
The survey, commissioned by AXA Business Insurance, found that a significant majority (92 per cent) of respondents are not using official government economic predictions in their planning processes, despite continued uncertainty over the health of the UK economy.[ref: q7] More than half (58 per cent) of those disregarding government forecasts when reviewing their business plans believed that the predictions were not relevant to their business and nearly a third (31 per cent) did not believe them to be accurate.[ref: q8] Commenting on the findings, Darrell Sansom, Managing Director, Direct and Partnerships at AXA Business Insurance, said: "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. The fact that so many business owners are choosing not to use these sources of data suggests they're tuning into other channels and finding more accurate information flows elsewhere." The survey also found that a majority of respondents (83 per cent) do not plan to seek advice on improving their business from external sources this year. [ref: q9] Of the minority (17 per cent) actively looking for external advice, respondents suggested they were turning to a number of sources, including: industry peers, business networks, accountants and banks, amongst others (see appendix for full breakdown of where business leaders are turning to for advice).[ref: q10] Sansom continued: "The old adage that 'knowledge is power' has never been more true. In times of economic uncertainty, being equipped with accurate and relevant insights is critical to making informed and impactful business decisions. Though there'll never be a 'one-source suits all' solution, AXA is arming business owners with a range of online tools and resources designed not only for survival, but for continued success." The survey was conducted as part of AXA Business Insurance's Business Guardian Angel resource for UK small businesses, and in support of the launch of its Real-Time Optimism Index - a live barometer of UK business sentiment. As part of the launch, AXA is offering participants the chance to win an iPad 3, simply by registering and submitting their business outlooks. Appendix:Where do those looking for advice intend to turn?[ref: q10]
Other business people approachable online (37 per cent)
Business networks (29 per cent) An accountant (28 per cent) Their banks (26 per cent) Industry peers (26 per cent) Family members (26 per cent) Marketing, PR, advertising or internet consultancies (23 per cent) Management consultants (23 per cent) Business mentors (22 per cent) Industry bodies (14 per cent) Lawyers or solicitors (13 per cent) Business leaders from other industries (13 per cent) Business or life coaches (7 per cent)
Notes to Editors
Methodology: the study surveyed over 500 UK business leaders (owners and decision makers), representing companies across a range of industries and sectors. The survey was conducted inJune 2012. About AXA Business Insurance AXA is one of the largest general insurers in the UK and underwrites a broad range of products for individuals and businesses. AXA Business Insurance offers business insurance for sole traders, the self-employed and small businesses through its website http://www.axainsurance.com/business and is designed to make buying insurance fast, secure, convenient and easy-to-use. Small businesses can choose Public Liability, Employers' Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance and can tailor cover to their own requirements. About AXA AXA UK is a part of the AXA Group. The AXA Group is a worldwide leader in insurance and asset management serving 101 million clients. It is ranked the largest insurer in the world by net written premium and the top insurance brand globally. In the UK AXA operates through a number of business units including: AXA Wealth; AXA Commercial Lines, AXA Personal Lines, AXA PPP healthcare, AXA Ireland and an independent distribution business Bluefin. AXA employs over 13,000 staff in the UK. For full year 2011, IFRS revenues amounted toEuro 86.1 billionand IFRS underlying earnings toEuro 3.9 billion. AXA hadEuro 1,079 billionin assets under management as ofDecember 31, 2011. The AXA ordinary share is listed on compartment A of Euronext Paris under the ticker symbol CS (ISIN FR0000120628 - Bloomberg: CS FP - Reuters: AXAF.PA). AXA's American Depositary Share is also quoted on the OTC QX platform under the ticker symbol AXAHY. The AXA Group is included in the main international SRI indexes, such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4GOOD.