BT Business advises SMEs to prepare for London 2012 economic boost or risk missing out

From: BT Business
Published: Tue Jan 10 2012

BT Business has revealed that a lack of preparation could see some of the UK's small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) miss out on an economic boost from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Nearly a third (30 per cent) haven't yet taken basic measures according to new research by BT.

The new survey conducted by BT of 600 UK SMEs finds overall attitudes are positive despite tough economic conditions.

Fifteen per cent of SMEs said they are already involved in London 2012 and of those, 58 per cent are supplying products and services to the organisers. Even if they don't expect to be directly affected themselves, more than two in five (41 per cent) said they have customers in London who will be affected by the Games - and that this in turn will affect their organisation.

Around one in five expects to profit from the Games. 33 per cent in the private sector anticipate a sales hike and SMEs in the public sector expect service quality to improve. More than one in five (22 per cent) expect new international business opportunities both during and after London 2012.

64 per cent of SMEs expect some negative effects, with supply chain disruption, higher hotel costs, staff attendance and a knock to productivity high among concerns. Over a third of SMEs expect resourcing difficulties when staff want time off or are not able to get to work. Positively, more than three quarters (76 per cent) of the largest SMEs already have flexible working policies in place and one in ten will be asking logistics staff not to take leave during London 2012.

Asked about the impact on supply chains, 64 per cent expect some disruption but 40 per cent of these (25 per cent of the total) are not doing anything, seemingly leaving their business continuity to chance.

These issues could threaten hopes of a business boost in light of previous BT research on the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, which found that roughly half (49 per cent) of local companies felt they could have done better from the event or missed out on opportunities.

Colin Hansen, the former British Columbia Minister responsible for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, said: "British SMEs should be optimistic because the Olympics had a huge economic benefit in Vancouver and across Canada as a whole. But the scale of the event was much bigger than anybody expected and many companies just weren't geared up for how big the opportunity would be."

Graham Sutherland, managing director, BT Business said: "Despite the tough economic times, our customers tell us that they're positive about the opportunity to grow and develop their businesses during the Games. With less than seven months to go, we encourage them to prepare now to make the most of the potential profits on offer, by putting systems and processes in place that allow them to deliver an exemplary service to their customers."

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Notes to editors:
Survey conducted by Vanson Bourne in October 2011 on behalf of BT Global Services and BT Business.1200 senior representatives from small and large public and private sector organisations across the UK were questioned by the market researcher.

About BT:
BT is one of the world's leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in more than 170 countries. Principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers; business broadband and internet products and services including leased line internet, business email and a business phone line, as well as converged fixed/mobile products and services. BT consists principally of BT Global Services, BT Retail, BT Wholesale and Openreach.

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