SMALL businesses are far less worried about being able to access finance than they were last year, a report has found.
Finding skilled staff is now the biggest concern for small- and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK. Lack of access to finance – one of the major issues voiced by SMEs during the recession – has fallen to 13th place from fifth last year.
Venture capital investor Albion Ventures commissioned YouGov to interview 1,014 British SMEs during the third quarter of 2016 about the challenges and opportunities they face in growing their business.
Respondents were also worried about red tape, regulatory change and the difficulty of accessing new markets. Our decision to leave the EU came in at sixth place on the list of challenges.
Small businesses had a difference of opinion over Brexit. A third think it will help them enter new markets and 41 per cent expect it to be a hindrance. Millennial business owners aged under 35 are the most likely to be concerned about its effects.
Technology and manufacturing small businesses were found to be the most optimistic about growth, while SMEs in the retail and construction sectors were the most pessimistic.
“Against a backdrop of profound change, one element that has remained reassuringly unchanged is the optimism underlying the UK’s small businesses,” said Patrick Reeve, managing partner at Albion Ventures. “Firms are looking to grow their headcount and productivity is on the increase. The biggest barrier to growth, finding skilled staff, is generated by success rather than failure.
“The downside is that the economy is coming under capacity constraints at a time of considerable political uncertainty. While many of the pressures on growth we have seen in recent years have eased, the skills that enable us to compete are in short supply.”