Businesses remain bullish despite Brexit concerns
New research from lender IGF has found that, despite the majority of British businesses harbouring concerns about Brexit, they remain bullish about the year ahead and intent on not letting the ongoing uncertainty deter them.
A promising 69% of businesses expect to grow their revenues in 2019, with 71% anticipating seeking new external funding in the coming 12 months in order to finance a range of objectives and business functions.
The numbers defy other gloomier forecasts which suggest Brexit is hampering business confidence, and ought to provide inspiration that 2019 can yet be a successful year in spite of the pessimism that continues to be publicised.
A great time to invest?
Business investment is often regarded as a key indicator of overall confidence levels, so it is refreshing to see that so many businesses are hoping to invest in key areas in the months ahead.
According to the research, 37% of businesses expect to invest in technology in the next 12 months. A further 30% are keen to spend on staff retention, with marketing (27%), staff acquisition (25%) and product development (23%) all high on the list of objectives for business decision makers.
Having the right funding in place to support these plans is key for any business, and it’s positive to see that 71% will be seeking new finance in the next 12 months. Of those, almost three quarters (73%) will be looking to secure more than £250,000.
Is speed an issue?
Unfortunately, many businesses seeking new funding are being held back by the time it is taking for their applications to be approved.
Of those surveyed, 53% have had to wait longer than a month for a funding decision, while 31% have waited for three months or more.
Some of these delays are synonymous with more traditional bank lending options. Increasingly, however, newer funding options are speeding up this process for businesses and providing them with much faster access than before.
It’s interesting, therefore, that 22% are open to switching their funding provider if a decision could be made within 48 hours – and even more encouraging that 31% would consider switching for more flexible or bespoke funding options.
Whilst speed is of course an important consideration for businesses, it is vital that the funding secured is the most suitable option and works for the company over the medium and long term – not just the immediate future.
What about Brexit?
Despite the optimism shown it’s impossible to ignore the elephant in the room.
Brexit continues to occupy the thoughts of businesses, with 90% admitting to concerns over how it will play out.
Chief among those is the overall impact to the UK economy (61%), followed by the impact on importing and exporting (36%) and suppliers (34%).
A further 32% are worried about the impact on business growth, while 27% are concerned about their ability to forecast accurately.
But it’s important to remember that whatever deal gets agreed over the coming weeks, business will continue and many of the repercussions won’t be felt for a good while after the UK leaves the EU.
Perhaps it is this mindset that’s leading so many businesses to maintaining a positive outlook for 2019, with SMEs, on average, expecting revenues to be 14% higher in 12 months than they are today.
If you’re seeking new funding to finance your growth plans in the year ahead, we can help. As a commercial finance broker, we can introduce you to the most suitable facility and funder that understands your business. To discuss your requirements with our team, contact us on 0800 9774833 or request a call back today.