Resilience from UK SMEs as business performance exceeds expectations in 2019

Research from Nucleus Commercial Finance, an alternative finance provider, found that the majority of businesses have performed better than expected in 2019. Despite ongoing political and economic uncertainty, 55% of UK SMEs said that their business performed better in 2019 than 2018.

This success was most prominent among young business owners (aged 18-34), with nearly three quarters (74%) saying their business had performed better in 2019, compared to just 39% for those aged 55 and over.

The research also found that businesses in the North East fared the best in the last twelve months with 74% reporting improved performance, compared to 54% in the South East and just 45% in Yorkshire & Humberside.

When asked what their business ambitions were for 2020, delivering greater profit came out on top, with 36% of SME owners choosing this option. Subsequent priorities for next year included:

  • Maintain the same level of business as 2019 – 32%
  • Renewed focus on brand marketing – 19%
  • Increase staff – 19%
  • Launch a new product – 15%
  • Move into larger premises – 12%

In order to achieve these ambitions, more than half (54%) of business owners are planning to change their business strategy for 2020 compared to the previous year. This was most popular among younger entrepreneurs, with eight in 10 looking to change their business strategy, compared to 57% for those aged 35-54 and just 36% for those business owners aged 55 and over.

Chirag Shah, Chief Executive Officer, Nucleus Commercial Finance comments: “It’s inspiring to see such ambition among SMEs as they start ramping up their efforts ready for the new year. Not only do business owners remain upbeat, but they are adapting to the challenging political and economic environment by evolving their approach to deliver their strategic goals. Accessing finance can help business to achieve these goals, whether it be to deliver greater profit, increase staff headcount, or launch new products. As we step into 2020, we encourage business leaders to be bold and invest in their futures, as now is the time to ensure they have what they need to maintain their competitive advantage and deliver growth next year.”