By Marcus Leach

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.

"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," Colin Hansen, the former British Columbia Minister responsible for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games, said.

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