A third of UK SMEs fear for exports post-Brexit

Nearly a third of the UK’s small businesses have revealed export concerns should the UK leave the single market as part of Brexit negotiations.

The Federation of Small Businesses surveyed its members in the aftermath of Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech laying out plans for the country.

Some 29% of businesses said they expect their levels of exports to fall, while 31% predicted imports would also be impacted.

Of those surveyed, 92% revealed that they currently trade with EU countries while 69% also import goods for their products.

With the potential impacts on business unknown, around half of firms are unsure of the levels of disruption that should be expected.

Despite uncertainty, the majority of the businesses questioned expect to grow in 2017, with the FSB suggested that many firms are looking beyond Europe to find new opportunities.

Most businesses also believe that they benefit from the free movement of people and expressed concerns over the introduction of potential limits on what is possible.

FSB Chair Mike Cherry believes that businesses that can export have more chances to “survive, innovate and grow” and suggests that it is key that administrative burdens are not placed onto the UK’s small firms.

The FSB has therefore called on the government to support methods that can enhance access to alternative finance options for firms in difficulty and financial advice.

Mr Cherry has suggested the government could revamp funding for business support and increase access to finance, as well as creating a regulatory system that promotes growth.

Reaching out to new customers can be a costly for business for smaller firms and can only really be achieved when there is enough capital.

If a business lacks the finances to expand in such a fashion, only options might be available to help change their fortunes – turnaround management practices can assess a situation and offer new administrative approaches or financial restructuring for example.

By Phil Smith

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