To achieve growth, economies the world over rely on small businesses to create jobs, increase competition and spur innovation. In return, these small businesses often look to governments for assistance, from cutting bureaucratic red tape to providing financial incentives such as tax breaks. Yet this growth model is stuck in second gear.
In the latest forecasts from The Economist Intelligence Unit, global GDP growth for 2013 has been revised down to 3.1% - only slightly up on GDP growth for 2012 (2.9%). Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) from around the world find regulation to be a top business concern, on a par with shortages of financing and behind only the weak economy, according to a survey conducted by the EIU for this paper. With growth prospects and regulation unlikely to improve overnight, smart SMBs are targeting the improvements they can make to their own businesses.