Despite the growth, there is still a large difference between growth in big businesses and in small businesses, as 86% of those with a turnover of £10 million or more reported increased revenues. However, 60% of UK small businesses are optimistic about the year ahead.
This is backed by the 19% of firms planning to hire in the UK, as well as by the fact more than half of those taken on by small businesses (52%) are junior staff; potentially suggesting there is focus on training apprentices.
The biggest concern named by the small businesses interviewed is political instability, with 22% saying it has a negative impact on their business. Despite these concerns, 51% claim they are not worried about the impact of Brexit on their business.
The report also showed that 16% of small businesses now think bank funding is more difficult to access; a 13% increase on last year.
UK small businesses call for simpler accounting rules
UK small businesses cited their wish list in the report, with ‘reduced direct taxation’ coming in top and ‘simpler accounting rules’ a close second. Joint fourth was ‘relaxation of employment laws’ and ‘reduced health and safety laws’.
The annual Hiscox survey also reported what businesses believed the biggest benefits of working for themselves were. For the UK ‘flexibility over working hours’ came first, with ‘ability to work from home’ coming in second and ‘being in greater control’ third.
As well as a rundown of the benefits, small business owners from the UK were also asked what attributes they believed were required to run an SME in the UK. Topping the list was the ‘ability to work hard’, with ‘determination’, ‘experience’ and ‘independence’ coming second, third and fourth and ‘creative thinking’ at number five.
There has been a notable decline in faith in government, with 35% of UK respondents describing government policies as supportive of entrepreneurs. Last year there were 55% of respondents who believed government policies to be supportive.
Despite the lower faith in government policies for the UK entrepreneur, respondents from the UK cited their own country as having the greatest entrepreneurial spirit, whereas respondents from all other countries interviewed cited the US as the country with the greatest entrepreneurial spirit.
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