The study by PwC, as part of its My Financepartner offering, of 566 SMEs discovered that two thirds (66 per cent) want government to focus on maintaining access to the Single Market for businesses in its negotiations and a similar proportion (62 per cent) are also keen to secure trade deals which would provide access to non-EU markets.
However, when asked which country they were most eager to keep contact with, 67 per cent said favourable relations with Germany should be top of the agenda, with second and third favourites France and Ireland lagging much further behind, scoring just five per cent and three per cent respectively.
Diving into the data, the research also found those in manufacturing, retail, IT and media valued continued access to the Single Market the most, as did those located in London and the south east.
Meanwhile, around a third (32 per cent) of those surveyed said they intended to grow their workforce over the next year, although one in five (21 per cent) were considering putting recruitment on hold.
"History has taught us that UK business is adaptable and innovative when confronted with new challenges and opportunities," said Tony Price, PwC UK partner and My Financepartner leader. "It is precisely this adaptable spirit, combined with foresight and planning which will allow the businesses to weather the storm – and indeed thrive."
Read more: This MP wants Brexit ASAP
Earlier this month, the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned departure from the EU Single Market would be seriously detrimental to the UK, costing government £8bn in lost tax receipts and sparking an exodus of financial services firms from the City.