Small businesses diversify to keep cash flowing

Small businesses in the UK are taking deliberate steps to diversify during the recession, with the owners of restaurants, pubs and firms in the leisure sector in particular admitting cash flow is their main concern at the moment.

That's one of the main findings to come from new research by business insurance advisers at Aviva. While three-quarters of pub, restaurant and leisure bosses surveyed by the group singled out money as their primary challenge, 70 per cent of beauticians, shops and salon owners said the same.

Offering new products or services, opening at weekends, trading for longer hours and targeting new customer groups are the most common actions being taken by small businesses to weather the economic storm, as well as increasing the promotions and discounts they have up for grabs.

Just two per cent of those questioned by Aviva revealed they had applied for one of the government's business assistance programmes, such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee.

"Britain's small business community remains entrepreneurial, creative and opportunist at heart, with an innate ability to be both flexible and versatile," commented David Bruce, the company's commercial product manager.

"The ability to anticipate and adapt to the changing environment is key for any successful business, and business owners are clearly leading the way in this regard."