In spite of August's PMI figures hitting a seven-year low earlier this week, amid wider concerns over the state of the market, the survey shows that SMEs are pushing forward with overseas growth plans. A third (31%) of the manufacturing SMEs surveyed said they are looking to expand overseas.
Overall, 64% of small business owners polled said they were considering new initiatives in the three months to 30 September to help boost their growth prospects – and businesses working on such initiatives were significantly more likely to have an upbeat business outlook for the three-month period. Again, the manufacturing sector was well above average in this regard, with 70% of those surveyed saying they were looking at new projects.
For the vast majority of small businesses, controlling costs and cashflow was a critical priority. For those looking to expand, the top consideration was looking at new markets overseas – a clear sign that small businesses are already adjusting to a worldview beyond the EU and the need to forge new business alliances.A financial makeover was also a priority for many. Some business owners wanted to re-assess their current finance commitments whilst others were looking out for suitable finance partners beyond their high street bank. Investing in new equipment was a priority for around one in seven respondents.
Gavin Wraith-Carter, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance commented: “The relative size and agility of Britain’s smaller businesses positions them well to react quickly to the post-Brexit landscape and adjust their plans to compete and grow. The relatively high number of business owners that is looking abroad to identify opportunities presents grounds for confidence and optimism.
“When considering the broader range of growth initiatives, access to finance was also an important consideration for many small business owners. Whether this be reviewing current commitments or investing in new equipment and assets, access to the right products at the right time is crucial to power growth. Hitachi Capital Business Finance is working hard to support small business growth at a critical time for the economy at large.”