A report by courier service CitySprint has found that although 53 per cent of UK SMEs say they are in a better financial position compared to 12 months ago, they still expect to see a challenging start to 2016.
The report found that, for 32 per cent of those surveyed, the most pressing issue was a lack of customer demand. Increased competition was an issue for 23 per cent of those surveyed, and 20 per cent said access to suitable staff was problematic.
Patrick Gallagher, CEO of same day distribution company CitySprint, said: “Despite what is clearly a high performing year for them, the UK’s SMEs are not quite out of the woods yet.
“While the majority in our survey are confident about 2016, a more challenging start to it looks likely. Therefore it is disappointing to see that they appear to have forgotten the lessons they learned in tougher times. SMEs need to partner with others to help cut their cloth accordingly where needed and to generate new business.”
SMEs concerned about UK future in EU
According to the CitySprint report, the potential EU exit is the “biggest cause of uncertainty among senior leaders and owners of the UK’s SMEs”, with over a quarter of those surveyed flagging this up as a concern.
60 per cent of those asked said that uncertainty about a potential exit is impacting their long-term growth plans, while 25 per cent said that this “prevents them planning ahead to a significant degree.”
Gallagher said: “While the majority of UK SMEs in our survey are confident about 2016, a more challenging start to it looks likely, with EU uncertainty foremost in their thoughts when it comes to making long-term business decisions.
“I think it’s clear to see that companies would welcome some clarity about our future involvement in the European Union and the last thing they will want is a drawn-out process around the referendum.”