Growing confidence amongst SMEs as lockdown eases and vaccinations roll-out

Covid-19 News | Employment & Skills | Surveys

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New research from investment holding company MBH Corporation shows SMEs are positive about the next two years as lockdown measures start to ease and the UK’s vaccination programme expands.

MBH Corporation’s nationwide survey found 61% are positive about their business outlook with 19% very positive. Just 6% of SMEs worry their business faces tough times over the next two years. Nearly six out of 10 (59%) business owners are even more confident about their own companies than they are about the UK economy.

Analysis by MBH Corporation shows how tough last year was for businesses with around 396,000 – about 7% of the UK’s six million firms – closing down and SMEs were hit particularly bad.

The renewed confidence is translating into investment with plans to hire new staff, launch new products and services and spend on business infrastructure. Around 25% will recruit while 24% want to expand with new services and 21% will invest in infrastructure.

Around one in 10 will open new premises while 11% plan to tap into overseas markets as they launch export drives for the first time.

Profitability remains an issue – around one in three (33%) expect to make a profit this year while 28% expect to make a loss. Around 24% expect to break even while 15% are unsure.

That however is an improvement on research last year for MBH Corporation which found just 19% of SMEs expected to make a profit and 39% were predicting they would be loss-making. The research found that nearly half (48%) of the firms that expect to lose money this year believe they will be profitable in 2022.

Callum Laing, CEO of MBH Corporation plc said: “The imminent easing of lockdown restrictions and the success of the vaccination programme points to better times ahead for the SME sector which has been through a torrid time.

“Around 396,000 firms went out of business last year with SMEs making up the bulk of the closures. All the firms in our group were able to continue trading despite the challenges.

“It is encouraging to see such high levels of confidence among SME owners are translating into plans to recruit and launch new services demonstrating how adaptable and resilient the owners of smaller firms are. The tough experiences of the last year will prove very valuable for many and enable them to expand their firms in the future.”

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