The current challenges around rising costs are expected to prompt more than 40,000 SMEs to lean on finance providers to help support their businesses according to new research from solution-led fintech lender Nucleus Commercial Finance (NCF).
The study found that 15% of small and medium sized UK businesses expect to need a loan to support the running of their business. While just 1% of sole traders expect to have to go down this route, it rose notably to 16% among smaller businesses, employing between 50-249 staff.
Having weathered the Covid storm, business uncertainty is back. Two thirds of UK SMEs are worried about the prospect of rising business costs over the next 12 months. Among small and medium sized businesses, this figure rises to 74%, with 29% of this group stating that they are very worried about costs going up over the next year.
For those businesses that find themselves in an uncertain financial position, being able to get access to funding is crucial. However, just 38% of businesses say they are confident about being able to access affordable finance in the next 12 months should they need it.
The findings also reveal that confidence levels increase in line with business size. Almost three in five of medium sized businesses are confident that they could secure affordable finance, compared to less than a quarter of sole traders.
Chirag Shah, Founder and CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance commented: “UK SMEs have been through the ringer over the past couple of years. Covid pushed many to the brink and just as they are getting back on their feet, their costs are rising exponentially. With no energy price cap for businesses and the prospect of blackouts over winter, the year ahead could prove to be one of the toughest.
“But businesses are not on their own. Having gone through the challenges of Covid, finance providers and government must work together to ensure that those lessons are learnt to deliver the necessary support. Doing so means that the UK’s battle-hardened SMEs can lead the recovery on the other side.”