Business Census 2019

In the midst of uncertain political and economic times, 2018 has seen an array of coverage pertaining to the state of business in the UK.

From the positive to the negative to the downright absurd, media documentation of the British business landscape has been varied to say the least.

But business is done by people. While the statistics provide interesting insight, it is only through real life experiences of business people and entrepreneurs that we can gain a true picture of the business climate.

Creditsafe is a global provider of business data and one of the most used sources of such data here in the UK. We asked our audience of business professionals to complete a short survey which explored their experiences of business in 2018 and expectations for 2019. The survey was completed during December 2018 by 755 participants, who range from sole traders to large companies with 500+ employees across a plethora of business sectors and locations.

The responses have revealed a number of key insights which shape the British economy today. Overall, growth has been strong, with more than two thirds of participants reporting turnover growth. Of course, that also means around a third of businesses failed to experience turnover growth - leading to queries around the fluctuations in business success, which are described in more detail within this report.

On a less positive but likely predictable note, concerns around Brexit remain rife, with 35% of businesses saying that leaving the European Union has already had a negative impact for them. Meanwhile, 60% state no impact so far and 7% are unsure about what to expect and how it will affect them.

 

Recruitment and the economy continue to be big challenges for British businesses - who reported similar in a report conducted by Company Check in 2017. The topic of flexible working (which has itself been a popular discussion point in 2018) led to a split almost down the middle amongst participants, with 48% stating they do allow flexible working and 52% stating they do not.

Looking ahead to 2019, sentiment is overall positive, with 90% of businesses expecting to grow in the coming year. 10% were unsure of whether they would grow, likely a result of ongoing uncertainty around our place in the EU.

When asked how optimistic they are about the UK economy in 2019, votes were split almost three ways, with 30% saying they were optimistic, 30% saying they were not and 40% unsure either way. Expectations for the new year are unclear, to say the least.