Supply chain Fred Heritage · 23 December 2015
Brexit remains major source of worry for small firms
The result of the impending European Union (EU) referendum is the biggest uncertainty facing small business owners in the UK, a new survey has shown, with 60 per cent of small firms admitting that a potential exit from the EU would scupper long-term plans to grow the business. As more startups continue to look towards exporting, distributor CitySprint’s survey, called ‘Collaborate UK 2015′, found that the possibility of a Brexit is causing the most concern amongst the country’s small companies, with 27 per cent of respondents stating it was the major worry going forward. CitySprint CEO Patrick Gallagher said that uncertainties amongst small businesses will make for a more challenging start to 2016. EU uncertainty is foremost in the thoughts of small business owners when it comes to making long-term business decisions, he said. I think it’s clear to see that companies would welcome some clarity about our future involvement in the EU and the last thing they will want is a drawn-out process around the referendum. Political uncertainty within the UK itself was the biggest worry for 26 per cent of the survey’s respondents, whilst skills shortages and the costs involved in recruitment also figured highly, with 19 per cent and 17 per cent of respondents respectively claiming it to be the biggest cause for concern. The survey also evaluated the financial positions of respondent small firms when compared with last year, with 53 per cent found to be better off financially than at the end of 2014. Indeed, it found that around 1.45m small businesses are now looking to increase sales by targeting international markets. Working alongside other businesses appears to be key to small firms’ success. The survey found that 85 per cent of small businesses (around 4.5 million) collaborated with others by sharing skills, knowledge and networks fuelling growth.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.