Each month, we’ll invite industry experts to contribute their thoughts, tips and advice on a specific topic — helping to inspire and encourage other business professionals with their knowledge and insight.
As how to scale your small business in a time of uncertainty is a concern for many owners, this month’s Business Basics will focus on how SMEs should approach their plans for growth during periods of change.
To offer the best possible insight on this topic from a small business perspective, we spoke to Emma Jones, founder of SME support network Enterprise Nation and a co-founder of the Startup Britain campaign. Emma has also written several books on startups and SMEs, and was appointed by the UK government as Small Business Crown Representative.
Read Emma’s thoughts on growing a small business in a period of economic uncertainty below.
In a period of flux, should small businesses be postponing their growth plans to mitigate risk or moving ahead regardless to maintain momentum?
A period of change represents great opportunity for entrepreneurs! This is what we're seeing reflected in our research and I hear it every day from businesses joining our international trade missions and events. Founders and business owners are feeling confident and optimistic about growth — they are assessing the domestic market and reaching out to customers to ascertain demand, whilst also looking at new markets outside the UK.
In our recent Small Business Barometer, 68% of respondents said they were expecting to swell revenues and profit in the last quarter of 2016, despite acknowledging Brexit uncertainty. Of those, 59% said they were planning to boost profits by introducing new products or services.
When it comes to access to finance, businesses in search of capital are finding what they're after in the form of StartUp loans, crowdfunding, bank loans, peer to peer lending or angel investment. At our 'Show me the money!' events, which match small businesses in search of funds with those that have the funds, we continue to increase the number of funding options as more become available. In the past six months alone, we've seen HSBC open a £10 billion fund for small business, and no abatement in the volume of businesses turning to crowdfunding platforms to raise money and profile.
As ever, when raising funds, success is eased with good preparation and sound advice, i.e. knowing your numbers and getting help from an accountant or financial expert so you know how much to raise, and for what purpose.
The political horizon is relatively unknown and small businesses would welcome certainty when it comes to the timing for triggering Article 50 and commencing trade negotiations, but in the meantime they are busy going about their business. They are scaling to sell to bigger brands, entering new markets, and keeping lean so they can rapidly respond to any changes or opportunities the political climate might bring.
Not only are small businesses the backbone of the British economy, they are the optimistic labourers who will keep going whatever the weather.
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