UK SMEs bullish about Brexit

Entrepreneur’s relief
There’s an interesting regional divide when it comes to Brexit attitudes, as SMEs in London are very significantly more worried about the future following the referendum than the rest of the country. The findings also echo the latest UK Jobs Report: 72 per cent of those surveyed say they intend to maintain or increase their investment in people regardless of Brexit.

Leaders and decision makers at the UK’s SMEs are confident Brexit will cause no significant disruption to their businesses.

The referendum result may have sent Sterling plummeting to a 30-year low, but almost half of small business leaders anticipate no disruptive impact at all from Brexit. Only 14 per cent are concerned that the UK leaving the EU will significantly affect them.

The results found that on average most would like a six month breather before the exit negotiations begin. But a fifth of the UK’s SMEs want to get the exit process started now, asking for Article 50 to be triggered immediately, in contrast with Prime Minister Theresa May’s assurance that Brexit talks will not begin until 2017.

When asked about their attitude towards the future, 68 per cent stated they feel either as confident or more confident about their business than they did 12 months ago.

It’s possible that this bullishness belies a failure to prepare adequately for the huge economic upheaval that Brexit could trigger. Almost a third of those leading the UK’s SMEs are more uncertain about the future, reporting that they “don’t know” how their strategy for growth will be impacted.

Patrick Gallagher, Chief Executive of CitySprint, commented: “It’s fantastic to see that the UK’s SMEs remain upbeat and ready to tackle whatever lies ahead. We know that they are resilient, having weathered the economic ups and downs over recent years, but business leaders must not become blasé about the future. As a business leader myself, I have been working closely with my leadership team to prepare for every likely eventuality.”

“One of the most powerful ways to build lasting security is through collaborating with other businesses of a similar size. Our research finds that those who successfully buddy-up and partner with others tend to be more optimistic about the future and in a better position financially. SMEs should forge collaborative relationships to help safeguard their Brexit bounceback.”

Bigger concerns amongst London’s SMEs?

In the UK’s capital, it’s a different story to the rest of the country. More than a quarter of London’s small business leaders think the Brexit vote will significantly disrupt their operations, and more than half feel less confident about the future than they did 12 months ago. This sentiment is shared by SME leaders in Cardiff, 24 per cent of whom anticipate significant disruption.

This fear could have ramifications for businesses across the country, as almost half of London’s SMEs are planning to review their partners and suppliers as a way to cut costs, compared with a 30 per cent average.