Growing number of SMEs planning for future

More SMEs are increasingly looking ahead to the future, according to the latest SME Finance Monitor published by BVA BDRC.

The research found that 42% of SMEs say their plans were future-focused in the third quarter of 2020, compared with 25% who were still focused on the immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, with uncertainty around how COVID-19 restrictions might change and the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December approaching, the study found that 32% of SMEs in Q3 said the future represented threats – compared to 19% who saw opportunities for their business.

Prior to the stricter restrictions introduced in October and November, the SME Finance Monitor’s findings also indicated signs of an improvement in business outlook. In contrast to Q2, more SMEs were positive, with 40% rating their mood as good, up from 25% in the previous quarter.

Furthermore, the proportion of SMEs expecting to struggle with revenue in the coming months had halved from 60% in Q2 to 30% in Q3, with all sectors reporting a boost to their incomes.

UK Finance managing director of commercial finance, Stephen Pegge, commented on the findings: “The banking and finance industry is providing an unprecedented package of support to help businesses through these tough times, including supporting nearly 1.5 million businesses through government-backed lending schemes.

“Despite the considerable challenges which remain, it’s encouraging to see that a growing number of businesses are now able to look ahead to the future and access the support they need to prepare, with nine in 10 SMEs who applied successfully securing finance.

“The industry continues to work closely with government, regulators and business groups to ensure SMEs have access to the best support, information and guidance. Through our Let’s Talk Business campaign, we are encouraging all businesses to contact their finance providers now to discuss how best to prepare and consider any additional financing needs.”

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