Brexit concerns growing
While confidence of growth is strong, UK businesses are also mindful of an increasingly uncertain operating environment - and a number of external risks beyond their control.
The UK economic slowdown is the largest risk faced by companies; followed by Trump Presidency and Brexit, however there are variations across regions.
Two-thirds (66%) of UK businesses expect Brexit to negatively impact their business in the next 12 months – up 9% since April. This may reflect the lack of political clarity following the General Election, and perceived uncertainty in negotiations with the EU.
Management challenges facing businesses
UK businesses, as a whole, are planning considerable investment to support growth ambitions with 86% expecting to hire new staff in the coming year (this goes up to 92% for those businesses planning to start trading internationally), and over two-thirds are planning product development or to buy new equipment.
Businesses not currently trading internationally note difficulties in securing reliable foreign representation to support sales (77%), identifying the opportunities available (77%), and contacting potential new customers (70%), alongside the need to focus on building a strong UK domestic base (86%), as barriers to trading internationally.
The challenges of operating internationally vary by sector and region.