Three in five small and medium-sized businesses admit to having no succession plan

POSTED: 24th April 2017
IN: Newsroom
  • 61% of UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) admit to having no clear plan in place to ensure their business does not suffer when a key employee leaves;
  • However, 15% of SMEs believe the biggest threat to their business is the departure of a senior executive;
  • What’s more, only one in ten (10%) UK SMEs say they have no employees who are indispensable or would be difficult to replace.

The Aldermore Future Attitudes report has found that over three fifths (61%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – equating to 3.4 million* UK firms with fewer than 250 employees – have no clear plan in place to ensure that their businesses do not suffer when key staff leave.

This is despite the survey of over a thousand senior business decision-makers at UK SMEs revealing that more than one in seven (15%) believe the biggest threat to their business is the departure of a senior executive.

More than one in six (17%) are worried about a whole team leaving; this figure increases even further to over a quarter (27%) of medium-sized businesses – those with between 50 and 249 employees – that are concerned about multiple leavers.

When asked about succession plans, only one in ten (10%) SMEs surveyed felt they could survive without one on the basis that none of their staff members were indispensable or would be difficult to replace. Moreover, a further one in six (16%) SMEs have no defined succession plan in place because they are not expecting any key employees to depart in the short-term.

Of the two in five (39%) SMEs that have a succession plan in place, nearly half (47%) say this includes ensuring employees view their long-term future at the company and providing training to widen employees’ capabilities beyond their current roles. Over two in five (42%) of those SMEs with a succession plan already have individuals in mind to take on the pivotal and specialist roles in the business if other employees leave or step down.

Carl D’Ammassa, Group Managing Director, Business Finance at Aldermore, said:

“It is concerning to find that the majority of SMEs do not have any succession plans in place despite being conscious of the adverse consequences that may result should crucial employees leave the business.

“When faced with the day-to-day demands of running their company, business owners can easily push succession planning down their list of priorities. However, good employees are hard to find so for SMEs putting in place a strategy to deal with the departure of key individuals is imperative, particularly since the departure of a key employee has the potential to hit smaller firms with fewer employees hardest.”


For further information, journalists can contact:

Ian Burge, PR Manager
Phone:            020 3553 4292

Tom Pavey-Smith, Lansons
Phone:            020 7294 3606

Notes to Editors:

The full SME Future Attitudes Q1 2017 insight report report can be read here.

Research conducted by Opinium Research between 13 and 21 February 2017 with a nationally representative sample size of 1,003 senior decision-makers at UK SMEs.

* 3.35 million SMEs figure – calculated using Federation of Small Business statistics showing that the UK has 5.5m SMEs (2016 figures). Aldermore Future Attitudes research revealed that 61% of SMEs have no succession plan. 61% of 5.5 million = 3.4 million.

To read the full report you can follow the link: here.

For further information about Aldermore, please review our  Notes to Editors page

Follow us on Twitter: @AldermoreNews