58% of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) claim that the COVID-19 pandemic has helped build resilience, but that doesn’t mean that business is running smoothly for everyone. In fact, rising costs have become a primary concern for businesses after the pandemic.
37% of the 500 SMEs surveyed by the Funding Circle, in conjunction with Oxford Economics, said that increased costs were a primary challenge. Additionally, 18% reported that falling customer demand was an issue that was harming profitability.
Despite these challenges and half of SMEs claiming that they paused investment decisions in 2022, there appears to be confidence in the SME market. Notably, Funding Circle uncovered that 49% of SMEs intend to seek finance in 2023, and an additional 29% expect to raise finance from 2024. Largely these finances are being raised to promote growth. 36% of those surveyed said that they were feeling more confident than in 2022.
These findings suggesting growing confidence are supported by Barclays SME barometer which noted that 60% of SMEs in London expected their revenue to grow in the first three months of 2023.
Speaking about the results of the Funding Circle findings, CEO, Lisa Jacobs, said ‘Today’s research shows that despite the challenges thrown at them, the UK’s SMEs continue to demonstrate their resilience time and again.
‘It’s encouraging to see so many business owners feel they have gained vital experience from navigating the pandemic and are now thinking of their future. As economic conditions ease, it’s vital that small businesses can access the funding they need to achieve their growth ambitions.’
Finding support for SME growth
A growing business can create challenges, whether it is finding capacity for customer demand or hiring effectively. But how can you be confident that the decisions and investments you are making are right for your business?
Help to Grow: Management is a course designed to equip SME leaders with the tools and expert advice required to scale confidently. You will have the opportunity to gain practical advice about a wide range of topics from experienced business practitioners, and the chance to work with your mentor on a growth action plan unique to your business.
Many leaders have noted that their business is now more resilient and ready for growth. Discussing his experience of Help to Grow: Management, Chris Reeks, Managing Director of Fentrade Aluminium said: ‘We aren’t a small company anymore, we’re a growing company. The course has helped me to focus on making sure we have the right procedures in place as we scale up.'
You can find out more about the Help to Grow: Management Course here.