Small businesses ready to seize new growth opportunities in 2017

Small business growth

After saying goodbye to an unpredictable 2016, small business owners across the country are stepping up their growth plans for the new year. According to a poll by insurance firm Zurich, the average business looking to get a loan plans to borrow up to 22% more compared to a year ago.

This is partly thanks to the continued growth of consumer spending in Q4 of 2016, and with the predicted downturn after the Brexit vote yet to materialise, around 36% of businesses are planning to borrow in 2017.

Rise in confidence

The rosier than expected outlook has led to a sharp rise in confidence among small business owners. In the Q4 Small Business Index (compiled by the Federation of Small Businesses) the confidence measure rose from -2.9 in Q3 to +8.5 in Q4 – returning almost to the pre-referendum level at the start of 2016 (+8.6) – meaning more small businesses feel confident than those that don’t.

Changes in the currency markets are having a more mixed impact on UK companies. While exchange rate and import cost rises are problematic for many, small exporters are benefiting from the weak pound and becoming more competitive overseas. A net balance of 18% of small businesses now expect to see export growth over the next three months.

With the uncertainty around Brexit negotiations set to continue over the next two years, the role of small businesses in the UK economy will be vitally important. Policy makers are being encouraged to support the sector, and the recent announcement that the British Business Bank will be lending an additional £40 million to small businesses through Funding Circle will be fantastic news for owners looking to borrow.

While numerous challenges remain, we’re excited to see small business owners feeling positive about the year ahead, and look forward to helping them capitalise on the new opportunities it brings.

If you’re hoping to expand your business this year or would like extra finance to help with working capital, you can check your eligibility for a loan at fundingcircle.com/businesses.

Rob McCorquodale