"While the last year has clearly been one of the toughest years in history for businesses due to the global pandemic, out of every challenge comes opportunity."
SME leaders believe there is light at the end of the tunnel, with a third optimistic about the year ahead, research from Nucleus Commercial Finance shows.
The research found that younger business owners (those aged between 18 and 35) are most optimistic about their business’ prospects, with 40% feeling optimistic compared to 32% for those aged 35-54 and 28% for over 55s.
Business optimism also differs greatly by company size, with 47% of larger SMEs (those with 50-249 employees) feeling positive, compared to 39% for those with 10-49 employees, and 29% for those businesses with 1 to 9 employees.
Despite this optimism, SME leaders report a number of significant barriers to growth. Nearly a quarter (23%) are most concerned about the economic impact of Covid-19, while other barriers to growth include the ongoing lockdown (22%), reduced consumer spending (12%) and Brexit (8%).
Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, commented: “It’s extremely encouraging to see that it’s not all doom and gloom for UK SMEs. While the last year has clearly been one of the toughest years in history for businesses due to the global pandemic, out of every challenge comes opportunity. SMEs have been resilient throughout the pandemic and I firmly believe we will see SMEs rise from the ashes to make a meaningful difference to the lives of their customers, as well as their essential contribution to the UK economy. As an industry, we are ready to support those businesses who are looking for finance to help them not only survive, but thrive in the current environment.”