Over a quarter (27%) of business leaders are expecting revenues to grow by more than 10% in 2019, according to a new report by Independent Growth Finance (IGF).
Despite undeniable uncertainty in the economy, IGF’s Powering Freedom Report finds that British businesses turning over between £1m and £500m remain ‘bullish’ about the future. Nine in ten company leaders have concerns over Brexit yet they remain optimistic about opportunities in the year ahead. In fact seven in ten (69%) companies expect an increase in revenues.
To help realise these growth aspirations 71% of businesses are seeking new funding over the next 12 months. More than £1.1m, on average, to finance key areas of investment including technology (37%), staff retention (30%) and marketing (27%).
However, boardrooms across the country understand that financial backers become increasingly cautious during uncertain times. Over half (53%) of businesses had to wait at least a month for a funding decision in 2018, while 31% waited three months or more. In an environment where the inability to forecast is among the top Brexit challenges (27%), slow funding could cause irreparable damage to businesses.
As a result, IGF’s research finds that alternative finance is on the rise. Many businesses are open to changing their provider to take advantage of quick and flexible decision-making. While traditional bank funding remains the top source (67%) more than a quarter (27%) now use invoice financing and one in five (22%) opt for asset based lending.
John Onslow, CEO of IGF, comments, “British SMEs are the lifeblood of this country. It is encouraging to hear how many are forecasting meaningful growth in 2019. Such a large number of businesses seeking more than £1.1m in funding shows that businesses want to seize control of their financial futures. Yet our findings suggest many struggle to find quick and flexible funding. With uncertainty on the horizon SMEs are refusing to stand still. Instead they are pushing for ambitious growth and alternative funding solutions.”