Given that this year has seen its fair share of political and financial shakeups, it’s certainly understandable for SME owners to have been worried about the future, especially in the past few months. But despite the uncertainty caused by the Brexit vote and the election results in the US, it seems as if British entrepreneurs’ confidence has returned with a vengeance, according to new research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance, the financial services company.
Having surveyed 1,006 SME owners about their outlook for the next three months, the researchers found that confidence had jumped by 11% in the fourth quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter. Overall, 43% are now feeling positive about the future.
That’s an all-time high for 2016. In fact, in September business confidence in the UK fell into negative territory for the first time in four years, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Mike Cherry, national chairman at the FSB has seen positive signs since but points out that the state of the economy is still a concern. “We hope to see clear government support for small businesses in the autumn statement,” he said. “And if that happens, we think this should then lead through to improved confidence. We have already seen signs that small firms are increasing recruitment of staff and exporting but the state of the domestic economy remains a key concern for 62% of FSB members.”
Meanwhile, Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said the findings were yet more proof of entrepreneurial Britain’s ability to weather tough times. “The research goes on to show just how resilient SMEs in the UK really are,” he said. “As the core of UK economy, it is encouraging to see that no matter what is thrown at them, small businesses are able to bounce back and turn a negative situation into a positive outcome.”
Now that’s certainly a vote of confidence we can get behind.