There has been a report released today by Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy
There has been a sharp increase in the proportion of SME employers aiming to grow
their sales in the next three years, from 62% in 2017 to 71% in 2018. This has been
driven by the increased ambition of the smallest businesses (micro businesses
employing between one and nine people)
34% of SME employers reported growth in sales during the year compared to the year
before. While one-third of micro businesses reported growth, nearly half of medium-sized
businesses did so.
Similarly, looking at employment, medium-sized businesses were more likely to report
growth than smaller businesses: 40% of medium-sized businesses said they had
increased their number of employees, against 22% of SME employers overall.
For the first time since the credit crunch we have seen a drop in the proportion of SME
employers who have made a profit in the last financial year, from 82% in 2017 to 76%
in 2018. Businesses in the health sector and ‘other services’ saw the greatest falls.
20% of SME employers exported goods or services (27% in Northern Ireland and 33%
in London). Of these, 78% exported to the EU, and the next most popular
international market was the USA, where 40% of exporters made sales. Of the non-exporters,
only 5% planned to export at some point in the future.
23% of SME employers have done business with the public sector, a similar rate to
that seen a couple of years ago, but there were big increases in this rate within the
education sector (to 49%), transport (to 32%) and construction (to 31%). The arts and
entertainment sector saw a big drop from 19% to 8%. The main public sector
customers were local authorities and the NHS.
SME employers continue to cite competition in the market as their greatest obstacles
to success, with 45% of businesses mentioning this, followed by red tape or
regulations (43%) and taxation (40%). Competition is a particularly high concern in
the retail and wholesale sector, mentioned by 56%. EU exit is a major concern in
Northern Ireland – 42% of SME employers mention it, which is much higher than in
the other UK nations, though in London it was also mentioned by 41%.
Since 2010 there has been a clear downward trend in in SME employers seeking
external finance, and this trend continued in 2018 with just 12% seeking this. The
finance and real estate sector saw a fall from 16% seeking external finance in 2017 to
just 10% in 2018.
Read more here https://bit.ly/2YOhvGp