Small businesses optimistic despite Brexit uncertainty

The UK’s small- and medium-sized businesses are optimistic about the future despite the challenges and uncertainty surrounding Brexit, according to a new report.

In a DAS UK Group survey, 55 per cent of SMEs said they believe they will grow over the next two or three years, with just nine per cent expecting to downsize in this time.

“It was interesting to note the level of business confidence amongst SMEs despite the economic uncertainties surrounding Brexit and what any deal will look like,” said James Henderson, managing director for insurance in the UK and Ireland at DAS UK Group.

The study also found that every small business surveyed had experienced a legal problem in the last year, with large businesses facing two on average.

The most common challenge faced in this respect was a need to chase clients or partners over debts and late payments – problems faced by 37 per cent of SMEs.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent had tax issues, 24 per cent had trouble with business contracts, 15 per cent had issues with pensions, 14 per cent had health and safety issues and four per cent said they had property-related legal issues.

Only a third of small businesses were found to have a legal expenses insurance policy – but those that did have it tended to be more optimistic about growth.

“With the seemingly ever-present business risk of having to tackle legal issues, we hope that the peace of mind being given to our customers will enable SMEs to turn their optimistic outlooks to balance sheet reality,” Henderson said. “Our SME market barometer disproves the perceived wisdom that legal insurance only benefits large companies.

“With every SME surveyed reporting at least one legal challenge to their business in the last twelve months, the value legal expenses insurance could provide is evident.”

For the full report, see the DAS UK Group website.

Photo © Dave Kellam (CC BY-SA 2.0). Cropped.