Small businesses expect exports to slow in wake of Brexit
Nearly half of the UK’s small firms expect exports to stall, or drop, following Brexit, new research suggests.
According to World First’s latest Global Trade Barometer, published quarterly, just 30% of more than 1,000 firms surveyed exported in the second quarter.
That compares to 52% who reported similar activity one year ago while one third expect to see no growth in exports in 2017.
Meanwhile, the proportion of firms expecting less than 5% growth rose from 20% to 23% on a quarterly basis, suggesting many concerned about what the future may hold.
Many of the concerns reflected in the second quarter follow the general election and ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations and financial markets.
World First economist Edward Hardy warned that many businesses are “still wary of volatility in currency markets” and of the disruption that can result.
As a result there is less investment as businesses are attempting to reduce risk levels, despite potentially stifling growth.
Of courses businesses of any size can experience a reversal in fortunes, which is why many choose to undertake independent business reviews to ensure they have a strategy that can see in a financial secure future.
Such an approach can reduce the risk of requiring insolvency procedures in the long term, by tackling cash flow issues and tough trading conditions while also focusing on whether aspects of a business can be restructured to provide more positive outcomes.
It is not all doom and gloom for small businesses though, as although volumes of international trades dropped off between 2016 and 2017, their average value went up by 16%.
Each trade in the second quarter of 2017 was worth an average of £44,000, compared to £38,000 for those made in the same period 12 months ago.
According to World First, it is a sign that small firms are trying to manage their trading more effectively to ensure they get value.
By Phil Smith