Despite the volatility and uncertainty brought about by Brexit, the UK’s SMEs are feeling bullish about their prospects. According to news released today, Zurich’s latest SME Risk Index, which aims to produce a mean score against nine different parameters, which asks how concerned management are about each of these. is sitting at a four year low. The last quarter saw it hit 36.72 points, “Indicating the lowest level of risk to the UK’s small businesses since the beginning of the SME Risk Index in Q3 2012 and a decrease of nine percent in the last six months. The SME Risk Index registered all-time highs in Q1 2013 at 44.55.”
The lower risk level is surprising, given some of the supplementary measures that show a level of concern among small businesses. Almost half (45%) believe their business faces more risk now than compared with 12 months ago.
In detail, workforce challenges are now considered a concern by less than a third of small businesses (32%) compared with almost half (44%) just six months ago; a fall of more than a quarter. Red tape is now also considered a roadblock by less than a third of businesses (30%), compared with almost two in five (39%) 6 months ago.
‘Light at the end of the tunnel’
Anne Griffiths, head of SME Proposition at Zurich, said that “Small business has been through the mill over the past four years, due to a changeable business environment of fluctuating political and economic concern. There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for small businesses, though. Workforce challenges and concerns over business risk are at a four-year low and businesses are growing at twice the rate they are shrinking in the UK. The SME community has long been the economic heartbeat of the United Kingdom, and while fixing the economy remains the highest priority, the wider picture is one of success, prosperity, and most importantly, optimism.”