SMEs see business plans shift following Brexit vote

 The research shows that two thirds of UK SMEs have had to change, or are in the process of changing their plans, which range from hiring to investing in growth opportunities.
While the majority of SMEs surveyed have felt no impact to business levels yet as a result of Brexit, many are looking ahead and revaluating their hiring and training plans as a consequence of the historic vote. Nearly one in five SMEs that are changing their business plans state that they will now be looking to invest in training and skills for their workforce, as they adapt to changing economic and operating conditions. This is twice as many as the number who now no longer plan to hire or invest in skills at all.  
Despite the increased investment in the workforce for small business, many are changing their approach to hiring. With uncertainty hanging over the future status of EU nationals, a quarter of UK SMEs who have changed their plans said they now plan to only hire UK nationals in their business.
The research additionally uncovered that of the SMEs changing their plans, many will be looking toward changing their trading partners. One in six SMEs said the referendum outcome is already changing which countries they trade with. A further one in seven confirmed that they will be putting their growth plans on hold until the future implications of Brexit are clear. 
Adrian Sainsbury, Chief Executive of Close Brothers Commercial Division said: “The short-term economic impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU does not so far seem to be as severe as first feared. However, it will be some time before the terms of Brexit, and the longer term economic consequences, will be known to UK business owners. Despite this uncertainty, SMEs have not stood still. Many have proved their agility and have already introduced contingency plans, refined their business strategy, or indeed invested to take advantage of newfound post-referendum opportunities. It is particularly encouraging to see many are looking to invest in their workforce through increased training and internships to unlock their potential.
“As SMEs navigate through this uncertain climate and adapt their planning, access to finance is crucial – whether underpinning long-term investment or short-term cash flow. SMEs across the breadth of the UK need support, specialist planning advice and access to the right type of finance; all of which should ensure that they thrive in post-Brexit Britain”.