Research from Wesleyan Bank has shown that UK SMEs are feeling positive about their future, with nearly two-thirds expecting growth of up to 40% over the next couple of years.
The bank’s annual “SME Heroes or Zeros” report surveyed more than 500 business owners and found that over 50% have more confidence over their company’s growth prospects than they did last year, while just 11% are concerned about the impact that the UK’s exit from the EU will have on their business.
Firms were also found to be feeling more defiant about the impact that Brexit will have on their strategy, with 50% believing that it will have no effect, compared to last year’s figure of 28%.
The study also looked at how businesses are utilising alternative finance options to help boost business growth. Respondents were found to be choosing alternative finance options over traditional methods, with 59% using external funding at least once, up from 30% in Wesleyan Bank’s 2016 report. More than 25% now rely on external finance, compared to 20% in 2016.
Business owners aged 45 and over were found to be three times more likely to have never used external funding, compared to just one-fifth of business owners in the 18-29 age group.
Commenting on the report, Wesleyan Bank’s Head of Direct Sales Paul Slapa said: “The UK’s economic outlook is often clouded by negativity, but this research highlights that SMEs are performing strongly and have built solid foundations to prosper, both pre and post Brexit.
“Unless there is a material impact on their business today, there is no reason why SMEs should put on hold their investment plans to sustain and maximise growth.”
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