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SMEs in the UK and Ireland believe that people are the most important factor in their success, according the most recent Close Brothers Business Barometer survey. 

Considering what contributes to their business’ worth, nearly two fifths of SMEs say that their employees add the most value. Interestingly, this is true across all sectors and regardless of size, but companies with the smallest teams, between one and ten members of staff, are most likely to rate people as their number one value-add.

After workers, companies say that products, brand and assets are key to their firm’s market price. Larger SMEs with more than 250 employees, put more emphasis on brand, while smaller businesses with fewer than 61 people working for them, say premises and property are most valuable.

The survey also found that nearly half of SMEs have acquired an accurate business valuation. Motives vary, with senior decision makers citing obtaining finance and preparing an exit strategy as the main reasons. 

Some companies also say that they use valuations to measure progress. Of those that have been valued, 70 per cent say they have grown in value over the last year and nearly half say they have done so by more than ten per cent. Looking ahead, 38 per cent of SMEs say that achieving growth is their main priority.

David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice and Speciality Finance, said:

“Business valuations can be useful to determine monetary value, but SMEs should remember that they are not the only marker of achievement. When we work with businesses, we consider the bigger picture, looking at factors such as objectives and potential, rather than just industry and turnover. 

“I am pleased to see SMEs recognise that ‘soft assets’, such as their human resources, are an integral part of commercial success. At Close Brothers, we’re proud to offer a people-led service because we know that with the correct skills, experience and hard work, the chances of thriving in long-term dramatically increase.”

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