Cost of living biggest concern for UK small businesses

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The Mastercard Strive Business Barometer have released the results of a survey, finding that for UK small businesses, the increased cost of living is the biggest concern. Despite this, businesses remain hopeful that with the right outside technology and support they can still succeed.

Small businesses say rising inflation (42%) and energy prices (38%) are their current biggest challenges, with around 1.5 million owners (28%) expecting business to decrease this year as a result.

One in five (22%) say they now feel more concerned about their business than before. This has risen 7% since February this year.

After struggling to stay afloat through the pandemic, the cost of living crisis is now adding extreme pressure to small businesses across every sector. These businesses are not only the backbone of our economy – making up 99% of all businesses – but of our communities, and have played a crucial part in society during recent years as people have wanted – and needed – to shop local.

– Mary Portas, retail expert and ambassador for Mastercard’s Strive UK

Optimism prevails

Despite the clear concerns, small business owners are remaining optimistic about the future, believing that the right support and technology can help them succeed in these challenging times. Almost six in ten (57%) say they feel generally positive about their business’ future with this highest for those businesses in construction and manufacturing (65%) and education and healthcare (62%).

It is important that small businesses consider how they can use digital tools, technology and mentorship to grow. Around half of those using digital payment methods and the same proportion of those who have adopted social media and online advertising say they plan to grow the business in the next five years, showing that employing various tools can motivate businesses to grow and adapt.

Two in five small businesses say they are likely to increase the use of technology and digital tools going forward, with the same proportion saying access to new technology and digital tools will be crucial to the future growth of the business. One in four say that access to mentorship and support will also be central to their business success.

Mastercard have their own program for UK based small business known as Strive UK. It is designed to help small businesses access the support and guidance they need to identify, utilise and benefit from technology – whether accounting software, online marketing or digital payment options. You can find out more about Strive by visiting


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