By Maximilian Clarke

Half of London’s businesses are anticipating no disruption to their operations resulting from the 2012 Olympic Games.

This is despite various warnings about UK business’ unpreparedness for what is perceived to be widespread disruptions to travel and infrastructure in the weeks surrounding the games.

Transport is the biggest concern with 14% of small and medium sized enterprises in London questioned by leading professional services firm, Deloitte, citing it as an issue ahead of next summer. Staff unavailability was the next highest worry with 8% of respondents from London concerned.

“The level of awareness of the impact of London 2012 among small businesses appears to be low,” commented Rick Cudworth, head of Deloitte’s Business Continuity & Resilience team. “With less than a year to go to the Games, the clock is ticking and planning needs to start now. For small businesses, supplies, transport, travel, and staff availability will be critical considerations.

“There will be three million additional journeys on the busiest days of the Games, whilst transport and logistics restrictions will be in place throughout the Games period, which extends for several weeks.

“In our research with larger companies we have seen the levels of understanding about the potential impact of the Games significantly increase in the past 12 months. 95% of larger companies will assess the impact the Games could have on their operations. One point larger companies will need to consider is how well prepared the smaller businesses they rely on for supplies are for the Games as the indications at present suggest there is work to be done.”

The research also discovered that the vast majority of small and medium sized businesses do not feel that London 2012 will lead to an increase in demand for their products or services. 74% of companies across the country believe the Games will have a neutral impact on sales, whilst this figure was 72% in London.

However, just under a quarter of small and medium sized businesses in London do believe the Games will provide a revenue boost with just 4% fearing a negative effect.

Tony Cohen, Head of Entrepreneurial Business at Deloitte, concluded: “We know from Sydney, Beijing and Vancouver that businesses tend to underestimate the sheer breadth and scale of the impact of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and this survey suggests it could happen again in London — despite the huge opportunity. Companies large and small should be planning now to take advantage of increased demand and new customers.”

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