Entrepreneurs of Small Enterprises in the UK
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Liquidity problem is an important strategic issue to run business enterprises. Small enterprises are realising the importance of such problems to reduce losses arises from this. Liquidity problems arise from shortage of working capital that require to maintain daily operations of the enterprise. If this problem persists for long-time, entrepreneurs are bound to stop their business. But it is difficult for small enterprises to get right support at the right time from banks and insurance companies due to certain terms and conditions imposed by them. So a study in this field will be helpful for both entrepreneurs and financial institutions to know current scenario of enterprise level management of liquidity problems and the role of financial institutions to solve this problem. Intelligent forecasting of the future trend in market conditions is a preventive measure to solve liquidity problem whereas, bank support through different financial products is a curative measure in management of liquidity problem.
This study has been initiated to identify and analyse entrepreneur's view towards liquidity problems of small enterprises and role of bank to solve this problem. Categorically the major objectives of the present study are:
- To identify various reasons of liquidity problems of small enterprises;
- To uncover the views of entrepreneurs regarding the research topic in light of their age, education, invested amount of capital, enterprise life, location and nature of business;
- To assess the risks identified by the entrepreneurs arises from liquidity problems of their enterprises;
- To identify and analyze the role of bank in terms of available financial products to manage liquidity problems;
- To suggest probable solutions to solve liquidity problems of small enterprises.
H 1: There is no impact of small enterprises length of life on the size of liquidity problems.
H 2: Amount of investment has no influence on liquidity problems.
H 3: Nature of business has no impact on liquidity problems.
H 4: Banks facilities are enough to solve liquidity problems of small enterprises.
Broad Subject Area: Business Finance
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Bhaduri, R., G. Meissner and J. Youn (2007). Hedging Liquidity Risk. Journal of Alternative Investments, Winter 2007.
Cecchetti, S. (2008), Monetary Policy and the Financial Crisis of 2007 â€“ 2008. Available at: http://fmwww.bc.edu/ec-j/sems2008/Cecchetti.pdf [Accessed: 11 November 2008].
Cohen, W. (2005), The entrepreneur and small business problem solver, 3rd edition, Published by John Wiley and Sons.
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8. Literature Review:
The economic recession that hit the UK in the second half of 2008 caused the retail industry to experience certain difficulties (McConnell, 2009; Kollewe, 2009). The credit crunch and growing unemployment reduced consumer income and spending levels and causes uncertain flow of cash for business enterprises. In such conditions, small enterprises are experiencing irregular cash flows, look at the cost cutting strategy, excessive burden of debt, reduction of buyers and uncertain profit margins or losses. As a result shortage of short term capital creates liquidity problems to small enterprises. In business, liquidity refers to the financial ability of an enterprise to meet it's short term obligations to bear day to day expenditures.
The liquidity of retail sector specially small enterprises are greatly affected by macroeconomic factors. These factors are divided into two: direct and indirect factors. The direct factors can be recognised as the decreasing disposable income, job insecurity and credit financing hurdles (Office for National Statistics, 2008). The indirect factors are challenges of credit financing and investment capability which commercial organisations face and which make these organisations unable to continue with producing high quality products and customer service (The Economist, 2008). Other macroeconomic factors that are related with small enterprises financial crisis are house price, house rent, and employment rate, and inflation rate, availability of bank loan, interest rates and changes of consumer's behaviour.
Storey  notes that small firms, however they are defined, constitute the bulk of enterprises in all economies in the world. In the latter half of the last century the increasing important roles of small firms and entrepreneurship cannot be in any way understated [Bygrave 1994; Timmons 1994;]. Small firms are now a complex subject matter of research because of it's huge number of limitations. These features of small enterprises are supported by Robinson and Pearce  who focused on the issue of resource limitations of small firms. These limitations are best summarised by Carson and Cromie  who suggest that small firm is actually characterised by three types of limitations, those of:
- their impact on markets;
- physical resources;
It is obvious that among these three limitations, finance is one of the most important one what is equally important for promoting products and services of small enterprises in the markets and acquiring physical resources. But undoubtedly these three limitations are in a cycle and interdependent. Liquidity problem is not only the result of shortage of fund, this problem is the consequences of other two limitations too. Definition of small enterprises of European Commission Enterprise and Industry [europa.eu] refers to maximum number of employees are 49 and maximum annual turnover is 7million Euro for small enterprises. As per EU definition, there are 4,267,555 small enterprises in UK where 11,441,000 employments exist [UK Bureau of Statistics: Start 2004]. It is undoubtedly important to find out immediately the problems of such a large sector and solutions of the problems.
As noted by Hill and McGowan (1999), there is no agreed definition or clear understanding, in view of the large literature that exists, of who the entrepreneur is or what it is they do. Entrepreneurship is probably best understood as a process, the constituents of which are the entrepreneur, their persistent search of opportunities, usually grounded in the market place, and efforts to marshal the resources needed to exploit these opportunities; hence the concept of the entrepreneurial SME (Hill and Wright, 2001). How entrepreneurship is vital and important for small enterprises? Hill and McGowan (1999) answer this question by adding that, without entrepreneurial commitment, determination, vision, energy, tolerance of risk, and ambition, the entrepreneurial process in small and medium enterprises would not happen. Entrepreneurs making decision in various circumstances must be sure to learn as much as possible about the situation, and approach the decision from a logical and rational perspectives' (Ricky W. Griffin, 2002).
The financial crisis, which transmitted internationally and caused disturbances in a wide range of powerful economies, many countries are seen to be on the brink of recession if not already plunged into it (Deutche Welle, 2008). Today's financial crisis what causes liquidity problems of business enterprises could be recognised as a major challenge for the survival of millions of small enterprises. The wide scope of the crisis caused a downturn in many industries, the bankruptcy of leading organisations and overall economic recession to countries like the UK, Germany and France (Deutche Welle, 2008; Hopkins, 2008; Office for National Statistics, 2008). Many EU countries including UK experienced the shock in their banking sectors as the provision of credit financing became a great challenge. Banks were suffering from lack of liquidity, which caused both business and non-business consumers' financial hardships (The Economist, 2008). Though few banks like HSBC and Barclays [BBC, November 2009] claimed that they are now in profit with enough liquidity to lend, most of the banks are in problem. Bank has short term and long term loan facilities, mortgage facilities, interest free bank overdraft facilities for small business enterprises [Small business banking, 2009]. There is a well-known idea that such facilities for small enterprises are very limited and process is very complex. Though various researchers carried out so many research to find out various factors that have direct and indirect impact on operations of small enterprises, relationship between entrepreneurship and small enterprises, buyers behaviour, marketing strategies, family and non-family business trends in this sector, there is still gap in research regarding liquidity problems and role of bank to solve this problem in terms of entrepreneurs perspective. Specially at the time of current economic down town there is a necessity of new research in the mentioned field.
9. Intended Methods of Data Collection:
Assumptions of the study:
Small enterprise: This study considers EU [maximum employee: 49] definition to select small enterprises.
Scope and limitations of the Study: The study will focus on randomly selected 40 small enterprises of different sectors like hospitality, grocery, fashion and stationary from UK (London Area: Zone 1-4). Since the study will cover only the mentioned area, it will not reflect the exact UK scenario as a whole about the research.
Data Collection Procedures: The proposed study is an empirical one. Both primary and secondary data will be used during the study. For collection of primary data self completed questionnaire will be used to collect information from entrepreneurs and executives of business enterprises. Observations and interview will be conducted in several cases to confirm more authentic information from the entrepreneurs. Secondary data will be collected from available literatures in form of books, journal, magazines, published materials, research articles, and online materials. To identify available financial products of banks to solve liquidity problems of small enterprises, banks websites will be used as a source of data and information. The researcher will also call the respondent to ensure timely feedback about questionnaire. In case of necessity, personal contacts will be used to support the research process.
Methods of Data Analysis: Some parametric and non-parametric tools and techniques of statistics (like average, percentage, test of hypothesis, sampling distribution, etc); will be used to analyze data and information related with the study.
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