• 48% of UK business owners have a naive attitude to cashflow 
  • 2 in 5 owners regret starting business with budget they had
  • Quarter of owners didn’t know about grants or loans


Nearly half of business owners fear they’ve held back their business by having a naive attitude towards cashflow during their company’s infancy. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those who identified cashflow naivety as their largest regret suggested that they overspent before gaining any profit, ultimately leaving them in larger debt than they could manage. Those in the business services, such as sales or marketing regretted their attitude to cashflow, with 65 per cent in these sectors claiming it almost ended their business venture, training providers were second most regretful (63%) and manufacturing third (53%). Industries in Leeds had the biggest regrets around their naivety towards cashflow with 65 per cent of business owners feeling this was a major mistake, Leeds was followed by those in Brighton (63%) and Sheffield (58%). The study conducted by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance gathered data on 1,000 business owners to identify what UK SME’s view to be their biggest financial mistakes. Gaining enough funding was also a major regret with two in five business owners claiming they made the wrong decision in starting a business with the budget they had. Recruiters felt they made the worst choice with 62 per cent stating they didn’t take advantage of better funding options; this was followed by the manufacturing (54%) and retail industries (49%). Those in the arts felt the most comfortable with their start up budget as only 1 in 5 claimed they had any regrets regarding funding. More than a quarter of business owners (27%) claimed they “didn’t know they could receive loans and grants” and simply used their own money to help support their start up. Those in the legal sector (51%) had the least knowledge on funding options available to them, this was followed by owners in transport and logistics (46%) and healthcare (40%). Although grants and loans can vary depending on business location, it was those in Brighton who knew the least, with 45 per cent of those surveyed admitting they never researched options, followed by Southampton (44%) and Bristol (39%). Shockingly, more than a quarter of UK business owners (51%) regret not creating a financial plan or forecast during their start up. Those in Northern Ireland regretted their financial planning the most with 40 per cent of business owners in Belfast fearing that they’re hampering their business due to a lack of forecasting; this was followed by companies in Southampton (39%) and Manchester (37%). Lack of funding for marketing during a start-up was also highlighted as a major regret for UK business owners, with more than a quarter (27%) claiming they didn’t budget for this expense. The biggest culprits that didn’t have marketing budgets include business owners in transport and logistics, recruitment (42%) and manufacturing (42%). More than a third of businesses registered in Newcastle (34%) failed to put any budget towards marketing, as did a third in Leeds and 30 per cent in Nottingham. Surprisingly, 13 per cent of UK business owners don’t regret any of the financial decisions they made during their start up. Andy Dodd, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, comments on the findings: 

“It’s fascinating to find out just how many businesses have lacked financial planning such as not forecasting or budgeting for key start up essentials such as marketing costs.


“We are really passionate about helping people start their own businesses and try and support wherever we can, I hope this survey allows new business owners to look at their own financial planning and re-consider those critical spends they need to plan for.”