The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has published new research on the business impact of leaving the European Union (EU)*. The six-month research programme outlines the importance of Prime Minister Theresa May's pledge to secure the greatest possible access to the EU single market.
Overseas trade is essential to the economy and UK small businesses, with the research showing that one in three (32 per cent) small businesses are involved in overseas trade as an exporter (92 per cent) and/or importer (85 per cent).
With the future trading environment set to change as the UK leaves the single market, 29 per cent of exporting small firms expect their level of exports to fall, with 31 per cent of importers predicting that volumes will drop.
Of the small firms surveyed, 92 per cent export to the EU and 85 per cent also import.
Some small firms do however remain optimistic, with 20 per cent expecting their level of exporting to increase post Brexit, and 42 per cent of small exporters expecting very little or no change.
Mike Cherry, chair of the FSB, said: “We know that [companies] who export are more likely to survive, innovate and grow. As the UK leaves the single market any new agreement must maintain the current ease of trade with the EU and not lead to additional administrative or financial burdens. For a truly global Britain, we need the government to enhance specific support for small exporters to reach new customers and to negotiate ambitious UK-specific trade deals with large and emerging markets.
“We also see future opportunities to revamp future funding for business support and access to finance, and for a lighter-touch regulatory system that promotes growth and productivity.”
Whilst the future remains largely uncertain for UK SMEs, businesses must ensure they have the right structures in place to respond quickly to the changing market conditions.
Our SME business experts at Beavis Morgan are able to guide you on your strategy, help you navigate the challenges that lie ahead, and assist in making those all-important business decisions that will have the greatest impact on future success.