UK's small businesses confident it can grow profits as it turns to global exports after Brexit

Jasper Jolly
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Small businesses are setting their sights on exports (Source: Getty)

Small businesses in the UK are confident about their future business prospects in the face of Brexit as they move their focus to export growth, according to a survey of executives.

Half of British small-business executives think they can increase revenues by at least four cent over the next year, according to the survey by Oxford Economics.

With the UK set to change trade focus from the EU, its largest export market, to the rest of the world, almost half of the small businesses surveyed think they are well placed to increase exports, with almost a third pinning their hopes of improved performance on an increase in sales abroad.

Read more: Why SMEs are so optimistic in the face of Brexit

UK exports have been boosted by the 16 per cent fall in the value of sterling since the EU referendum, but the government has set its sights beyond the EU for future trade growth, giving up membership of the Single Market.

The UK government is set to trigger Article 50 in March, officially notifying the EU of its intent to leave the union. This will set off two years of intensive negotiations during which trading relationships with nations around the world will be confirmed.

However, in another sign of the positive view taken on UK economy, the survey shows the European economy as the main threat to performance. Domestic political uncertainty was the second most cited risk.

UK small businesses also view longer-term prospects as positive, with 57 per cent believing they can achieve a four per cent growth rate over a three-year period, while more than a fifth think they can achieve a booming eight per cent annual growth rate.

Read more: The trillion pound drop: Fox scraps trade targe

This optimism is reflected in a positive outlook for the UK economy, with small business leaders almost twice as likely to think growth will accelerate rather than slowing down over the next three years, during which the UK will experience an almost unprecedented level of change to trading relationships.

Jose Carvalho, a senior vice president at American Express, which commissioned the research, said: “It’s very encouraging to see this evidence of optimism and self-confidence among small and medium-sized enterprises, both in Europe and globally. Businesses are deftly navigating through challenges and this resilience is helping them to thrive.”

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