The challenging economic environment is deterring many small businesses from planning more than six months ahead, a new study from energy supplier Npower has revealed.

Just over 40% of small business owners said the “day-to-day running” of their business was preventing long-term plans being made.

More time, additional resources and the ability to fix prices, such as energy supply and other overheads, were cited as the top three things that would help small businesses plan further ahead.

However, while the research shows that many SMEs are struggling to plan for the future, a large number are taking steps to keep costs in check.

More than 40% of SMEs questioned said they now viewed energy efficiency as a key business priority, while a significant number (43%) have examined the energy marketplace and switched energy suppliers at least twice.