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65% of UK SMES predict growth of up to 40% in the next two years

4 min read

14 May 2018

As Britain edges closer to leaving the European Union, predictions of financial disaster thus far appear premature and there is evidence to suggest that Britain’s small and medium sized businesses have reasons to be optimistic.

New research reveals that only 11% of firms are concerned about Brexit.

As Britain edges closer to leaving the European Union, predictions of financial disaster thus far appear premature and there is evidence to suggest that Britain’s small and medium sized businesses have reasons to be optimistic.

Following stronger than expected consumer spending, the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has raised its GDP forecast for 2018 from 1.1% to 1.4%, and in 2019 from 1.3% to 1.5%. The current UK employment rate has also hit a record high and Britain’s manufacturers are also feeling a sense of buoyancy with new orders at their highest level in a generation.

While the UK’s economic recovery remains modest, the BCC’s estimates suggest that with the right support SMEs can flourish despite facing ongoing competitive and cost pressures.

Positivity for growth signals the way forward

These green shoots of recovery suggest that British businesses that are prepared to invest and seek alternative sources of funding are in a stronger position to drive growth.
This view is shared by the findings of Wesleyan Bank’s new ‘SME Heroes or Zeros 2018’ research, which highlights a growing sense of positivity based on an in-depth survey of over 500 UK SMEs from a variety of sectors.

Overall, UK SMEs are feeling upbeat about the future as highlighted within the survey of 513 business owners which reveal:

• 65% of SMEs anticipate achieving growth of up to 40% in the next two years

• Just 11% of UK SME owners admitted to being ‘concerned’ about the potential impact of Brexit

More SMES turn to alternative finance – is your firm one of them?

SMEs are increasingly open to seeking out external funding rather than using traditional borrowing methods such as business overdrafts and credit cards to support their short, medium and long-term needs. The results of this year’s ‘SME Heroes or Zeros’ survey suggests a growing awareness of the benefits of using alternative finance to invest in new equipment or technology to facilitate growth.

59% of UK SMEs said they had used external funding on at least one occasion compared to just 30% in 2016. Although knowledge is growing steadily year-on-year, these statistics demonstrate that specialist lenders still have work to do to highlight the benefits of using alternative finance in helping growth and supporting working capital.

UK SMEs shun high-street lenders

Given the fluctuating appetite towards lending from high-street banks it’s understandable that SMEs are cautious about making financial investments. The ‘SME Heroes or Zeros 2018’ report reveals that 38% of UK SMEs are less likely to seek funding based on their previous experiences of approaching high street lenders. With greater access to funding and lower interest rates, it appears that more SMEs are exploring alternative finance as a growth accelerator and possess a wider understanding of how it can benefit their business.

Wesleyan Bank’s “SME Heroes or Zeros 2018” provides top tips and comprehensive insight into the views of over 500 SMEs on the current factors affecting the majority of businesses in the UK. The report analyses their levels of optimism as Brexit draws closer, projected growth and profitability forecasts, attitudes towards risk, planned areas of investment and perceptions of alternative finance.