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How SMEs can survive UK market blues

The latest UK growth forecast for 2017 from the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) is a shallow 1.5%. It’s clear that the coming years won’t be plain sailing for SMEs. How are they going to navigate these choppy waters?

Part of the answer is alternative finance. According to the BCC, the weedy growth in 2017 is likely to be followed by even weaker performance in 2018, at 1.3%, before recovering, if that’s the word, to 1.5% in 2019. The figures hardly make inspiring reading for small business owners. Indeed, given the range of demands on capital, the forecast is likely to furrow a fair few brows.

A new survey on business cyber-attacks, this one by PolicyBee, underlined the investment required from small businesses. According to the survey, almost three quarters of the companies questioned stated that they have not allotted budget to deal with an attack, while just over 40% said that they have no plan in place in case of an attack. Protection from a cyber-attack comes at a price and it seems reasonable to presume that cost is a barrier to action.

Elsewhere, the dispersal of the business rate relief fund has yet to get the green light and companies continue to struggle to meet the demands of pension auto-enrolment and effectively combat the impact of late payment.

Small business owners are under pressure, that much is clear, and current market indicators suggest that hitting performance and development targets will remain challenging. This is why alternative finance has such an important role to play.

In recent years, the popularity of services such as invoice finance, asset finance, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding has gone through the roof. At a time of depressed market conditions, these services have offered small business owners the accessibility, affordability and flexibility that have allowed them to maintain cashflow and achieve investment.

With the recent election only intensifying the uncertainty surrounding the country’s political and economic future, and the market forecast thoroughly underwhelming, alternative finance is going to be more important than ever.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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