Collaborate UK 2015 features in The Telegraph and The Independent.
CitySprint is delighted to start 2016 by seeing our third report into UK SMEs being quoted in the Telegraph and the Independent. Collaborate UK 2015 questioned more than 1000 small firms and found that talk of ‘Brexit’ is causing bosses considerable concern. Almost two thirds of the UK’s SMEs (60%) have admitted that a possible exit from the EU is affecting their long-term growth plans according to a report released today.
In fact, the impending European Union referendum (27%) is the biggest uncertainty facing businesses in 2016, followed by UK political upheaval (26%), skills/talent shortages (19%) and the rising costs associated with finding the right people (17%).
Click here to download the full Collaborate UK 2015 report.
The survey also asked business to evaluate their financial position compared with the same period last year and encouragingly 53% felt they were in a better place, with more than 1.45million SMEs looking to grow their sales by targeting international markets.
While the majority of UK SMEs in our survey are confident about 2016, a more challenging start to it looks likely, with EU uncertainty foremost in their thoughts when it comes to making long-term business decisions.
Collaborate UK 2015 also found that a lack of customer demand (32%) is seen as the main obstacle for businesses over the next twelve months.
It tops a list that also features increased competition (23%), access to suitable staff (20%), cash flow (19%) and regulations (17%).
Collaboration remains a key business survival tool for smaller employers in response to these threats; 85% of the UK’s SMEs (some 4.5 million) are collaborating with other businesses, sharing skills, expertise and mutual networks to drive their business forward.
Given the challenges they have outlined for 2016, it’s no surprise to see that nearly half are doing this to generate sales leads and win new business (43%), whilst others are sharing best practice and advice (36%), outsourcing some of their functions (28%) or sharing operating costs (23%).
The majority (86%) say that the collaborative partnerships with other businesses they forged in the downturn and tougher times have placed them in better stead for the future.
The benefits of collaboration are clear. Respondents who placed the greatest store in the partnerships they formed in the downturn report being in better shape financially, less worried about the future and less concerned about competitors.