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Predictions for UK SMEs in 2019

This year has been a somewhat trying and uncertain 12 months for businesses across the UK. There have been numerous factors at play, from political instability and Brexitlooming ever closer, to the reshaping of the high street. Each have contributed to the first decline in SME numbers since 2000 – according to The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the amount of small British businesses has fallen by 0.5%.

5.6 Million SMEs in 2018

Despite the decrease in SMEs and concerns surrounding the economy, the FSB have concluded that in terms of employment, this has been a positive year for small and medium enterprises.

Their analysis has revealed that while businesses that employ no staff fell by 50,000 (or 1%), employing SMEs have seen growth, increasing by 23,000 (2%). Despite this resulting in an overall loss of 27,000 businesses, these figures translate to the creation of more than 300,000 new jobs in the private sector.

SMEs Crucial to the UK Economy

SMEs are the backbone of the British economy, accounting for half of the private sector’s turnover – a statistic that equates to £2 trillion. In fact, small and medium enterprises provide 60% of jobs in the private sector and make up over 99% of businesses across major industries in the UK.

Lowest Confidence for Seven Years

In another report by the FSB, many business owners and firms have stated a loss of confidence, with approximately a third predicting international business to decrease as the UK moves towards Brexit. Many firms are feeling the pressure of the political environment, expressing fears over trade and skilled labour shortages.

And it appears to not only be SME owners who are concerned. This has been highlighted by the British Chambers of Commerce’s reduced GDP predictions, forecasting a 1.1% growth in 2019 – down from the previous figure of 1.3%.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Subsequently, as the year draws to a close, many business owners have questioned what lies ahead in 2019. For the economy, sectors across the UK are predicted to experience slowed growth. How much will depend upon the Brexit deal secured and the impacts this may have for British businesses.

Until then, 2019 could mean a year of uncertainty for SMEs who should plan for a difficult period. This could mean designing a contingency plan that re-evaluates business and marketing strategies, securing additional finance from the likes of Liberis and protecting against revenue loss with insurance.

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