New research by Wise Business, the business account for going global, finds that 70% of Irish small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) fear closure in 2023 in the face of rising business costs. The study also reveals that over 76% of respondents believe that the banking sector requires greater competition to meet the needs of SMBs.
The research, which saw Censuswide independently poll 250 SMBs across the Republic of Ireland, shows that more than two thirds of Irish SMBs admit there is a ‘possibility’ they will have to shut next year, with nearly half (48%) considering it at least a ‘moderate risk’. Only one-in-three have no doubt they will be fine.
Small businesses’ uncertainty is being driven by increasing economic pressures and costs. More than 40% of Irish SMBs say that rising business costs or economic turbulence represent the greatest challenge to their business, with 86% concerned by rising costs.
Promisingly, Irish businesses are responding. Nearly two thirds (62%) are investing in or expanding their online presence. More than half (56%) are planning to expand abroad, either by finding international customers, hiring overseas staff or sourcing from international suppliers.
However, their international expansion faces hurdles. Of those not currently operating overseas, almost half (43%) do not have the capital or investment needed to expand abroad – while Ireland’s banking sector provided further challenges.
Banking sector uncompetitive
There was clearly a desire to see a change within the Irish banking sector, as more than three-in-four businesses (76%) say the sector requires greater competition. Unsurprising, then, that 57% are having their growth restricted by poor banking solutions.
Poor services are having a real impact on SMBs’ international ambitions and operation.
Of those that don’t operate abroad, 16% say the cost of banks’ international services deterred them from international expansion, while 11% said these services’ inconvenience had put them off.
In fact, more than 95% of all SMBs have frustrations when using banks’ international banking services – with almost a third (32%) noting the complexity and slowness of these services, and more than a quarter (27%) saying fees are either too high or too confusing.
Clara Nobre, Head of Wise Business, said:
“This year has been tough for SMBs, and next year looks set to be similarly challenging. The rising costs of business are creating real pressure on many brilliant businesses’ bottom lines. However, SMBs are resilient and innovative – which is why so many are looking overseas.
“Overseas expansion can offer brilliant opportunities. But Ireland’s SMBs need support, not least from their bank. For too long, banks have only offered inefficient, overpriced international banking services. At Wise Business, we don’t think that’s good enough – we’re committed to giving SMBs a service that is transparent, convenient, affordable and quick.”
Wise Business is Wise’s service for small and medium-sized businesses, and aims to help solve their international banking needs – with these businesses long neglected by big banks and offered slow, expensive services.
Today, Wise Business has more than 3,000 active business customers in Ireland.
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