More SMEs see business costs move up, while profit margins go down

Business costs are on the rise for more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here, who are also seeing a drop in their profit margins. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Business costs are on the rise for more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here, who are also seeing a drop in their profit margins. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Business costs are on the rise for more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) here, who are also seeing a drop in their profit margins.

These are among the key challenges SMEs face today, according to results from an annual SME survey conducted by the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI).

Eighty-three per cent of the 645 companies surveyed - up 9 percentage points from last year - said that their business costs have increased. Forty-six per cent of them - up 7 percentage points from last year - reported a decline in profit margins.

At the same time, businesses are struggling with growing employee salaries and rentals, as well as manpower shortage.

But the survey also found that more companies are taking steps to boost their productivity, such as by upgrading their employees' skills through training or adopting automation and technology in their operational processes.

90 per cent of those surveyed have taken concrete measures to increase their productivity, a 6.4 percentage point increase from 2013.

The survey was conducted from May to July this year.