SME businesses remain hopeful of growth, despite ongoing challenges
Despite UK businesses facing several challenges during the past few years, business optimism amongst UK SMEs is high. New research by the independent asset manager, BOOST&Co, has revealed that almost 4 in 5 businesses (78%) are optimistic that they will achieve growth during the next 12 months, with 31% being extremely confident about their chances.
Understandably, the war in Ukraine has adjusted growth plans for 52% of businesses with 13% having to terminate specific customers contracts and a further 12% feeling pressure to change suppliers during the past few weeks.
According to the nationally representative survey of 500 business leaders in the UK, the 2022 Geared for Growth report revealed that whilst the ongoing political situation is causing difficulties for businesses, the highest priority for achieving growth among UK business leaders is through investing in technology. This was the top priority for a third (29%) of organisations surveyed, suggesting that businesses are continuing to invest in technology to stay ahead of their competition and remain competitive in an increasingly digital world.
Other priorities for growth among business leaders included finding the right talent (24%), building on the growth experienced during the pandemic (19.6%) and securing funding to support the growth of the business (6.2%).
While UK SMEs have felt pressure during the past few years; navigating the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, Brexit and other significant events, the research from BOOST&Co suggests that businesses are indeed managing well and have confidence in achieving their growth ambitions this year.
Research by EY in 2021 found that despite the pandemic, more than 78% of fast-growth companies grew revenues in the preceding 12 months, indicating the agility and resilience of UK firms during the pandemic.
Commenting on the research, Joanna Scott, managing director at BOOST&Co, says: “Given the challenges that many firms have experienced during the past two years as well as the worrying political situation globally, it is really positive to see that growth optimism has not waned. In fact, UK business leaders are showing real hopes of growth, with clear goals for how they believe their organisation can achieve it.
“While the challenges are far from over – with ongoing complications from the pandemic and further disruption to the global business market due to current events – many businesses can, and will, continue to thrive.
“Mapping out the key areas of focus for SME growth and supporting these promising businesses must be a top priority for the UK economy. There are several ways that businesses can feel better supported in their growth journeys throughout 2022, whether that be through greater access to resources, advice or alternative sources of funding. Optimism may be high but with a turbulent business market across the UK, listening to SMEs and their concerns will be essential for a successful and flourishing UK economy during the next 12 months.”