- 57% of UK SMEs are bullish about their 12-month outlook
- Delivering growth and innovation the key priority for business
- One in four (26%) medium-sized businesses call for faster access to finance
Despite the tricky economic environment, more than half of UK SMEs (57%) are bullish about their outlook and confident about the prospects for their business over the next 12 months, according to new research from solution-led alternative finance provider Nucleus Commercial Finance (NCF). Fewer than one in five (22%) SMEs state they are unconfident.
Their goals for the next 12 months are clear – with growth and innovation (45%) leading for all sizes of business, barring medium sized businesses, who are more focussed on recruiting and retaining staff (48%). Managing rising overheads (39%) is a high concern for all as well, reflecting the wider cost of living crisis. Interestingly, getting employees back to the office (10%) was the lowest priority of all those presented to the decision makers.
Crucially, however, achieving these goals requires the right support.
The research also reveals that when asked to identify their key barriers to growth, top of the list among UK SMEs was that they are simply more focussed on staying afloat than cementing growth (28%). While adapting to a changing world (23%) and shortage of staff (21%) were also major issues, just 9% of UK SMEs have no ambitions to grow.
When looking at what could encourage growth in their businesses, tax incentives for innovation or investment was popular with a third (33%) of SMEs. Similarly popular was having more time to concentrate on innovation and growth (31%). Just more than a quarter (26%) of SMEs feel that re-joining the European Union (26%) would help and 23% identified government backed training for staff.
A quarter (20%) of UK SMEs call for faster access to lending, but this rises to more than one in four (26%) among medium-sized businesses.
Chirag Shah, Founder and CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance comments: “Having successfully navigated Covid, UK SMEs remain hungry and ambitious for growth. Yes, there are a proportion that are worried about ‘the now’, but most are eager and willing to play their part in powering the UK economy forward though innovation and ambition. The challenge too many of them face, however, is that they need access to the right support.
“With opportunities abound, it is imperative that these engines of growth not be starved of the necessary access to finance. But they also need to have the time to stride forward, and this means offering them simple, agile, and rapid solutions. By doing this, we can ensure that the UK recovery remains on track and full steam ahead.”