UK entrepreneurs say they want to stay in the EU
The consensus among UK entrepreneurs is that the UK should remain in the EU, albeit a potentially reformed one, according to a survey by Nexia member firm Saffery Champness.
The results of the second Saffery Champness Entrepreneurs Survey provide a snapshot of UK entrepreneurs’ views on a range of topics, from their plans for growth over the next 12 months to their outlook on Europe.
The survey reveals that UK entrepreneurs are reporting better results and increased growth in headcounts across their businesses. However, it also reveals increasing uncertainty about the business environment that lies ahead.
How important is Europe?
When asked how they would vote in a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU, 67% of entrepreneurs said they would vote to stay while 9% said they would vote to leave. This compares to 17% who had said that they would vote to leave in 2014.
This is in spite of the fact that fewer entrepreneurs thought the UK’s relationship with Europe was important to their business this year: 48% of those surveyed in 2015, which represents a drop from 53% of those surveyed in 2014.
Whilst almost a quarter of respondents had not made up their mind at the time of the survey, the overall consensus from UK entrepreneurs seems to be to remain in the EU (albeit a potentially reformed one).
The business environment
Respondents also identified the three most important current challenges to business success. These remain unchanged for the second consecutive year: availability of skilled labour was seen as the most important challenge (61%); quality of the management team was the second most important challenge (57%); and economic conditions/uncertainty was also a key concern (52%).
Only 25% of respondents cited the availability of external finance as one of their top three challenges in 2015, down from 40% last year – an indicator that access to finance may be steadily improving.
More than three-quarters reported a growth in their turnover in 2015, with 61% seeing growth in excess of 5%. This compares to 67% of entrepreneurs who reported growth in turnover in 2014.
Levels of confidence
The survey reveals a slight decline in the levels of confidence among the entrepreneurs surveyed. In 2015, 78% were either very or quite confident they would achieve their business objectives over the next 12 months. This compares to 84% in 2014. While still a relatively high percentage, the level of confidence demonstrated by this latest survey, suggests that market conditions have perhaps somewhat cooled a little.
Plans for growth
The number of respondents who said they would be concentrating only on organic growth over the next year was virtually unchanged (68% in 2014 and 69% in 2015). Likewise, the number looking to make corporate acquisitions was very similar (25% in 2014 and 26% in 2015).
Just over a quarter of respondents (27%) had secured bank loan funding over the past year and 23% had secured asset finance. Just under half (45%) of respondents had not explored any forms of funding over the past year.
For more information, contact:
Saffery Champness, UK
T: +44 (0)20 7841 4000