Despite expert predictions of economic disaster, Britain’s small digital businesses are optimistic about their growth prospects this year by a margin of two to one, according to the eBay for Business Index based on research carried out by YouGov.
Almost half of the small online businesses surveyed for the index are confident about their growth prospects, while nearly three quarters see themselves as master of their own destiny.
Whilst commentary around the future of the Eurozone and a US trade deal often implies bad news for UK plc, small online businesses appear to be shrugging off any uncertainty, with over half (52 per cent) of the small business leaders eBay spoke to expressing fatigue with “experts” predicting “doom and gloom” that doesn’t then affect their business.
“Look at your Twitter feed or watch the TV news and the chances are you’re greeted with a story predicting doom and gloom for business in the UK. I’m not saying the experts are wrong, but things like the strength of the pound are shaped by forces outside our control, so whilst they can have an impact on business, you can’t let them affect your ambitions. As an entrepreneur you’ve got to be bold and invest for the growth of your business or idea.”
– Monty George, Managing Director of Furniture Box, an online furniture store that launched on eBay in 2015 and now turns over more than £1 million.
There are always ways for entrepreneurs to respond to changing circumstances and take matters into their own hands. British grooming products are in huge demand right now, so take advantage of ready-made global infrastructure like eBay and get exporting. If anything, the weakness of the pound means there’s never been a better time to export. What’s important is to stay resilient and adaptable.”
– Steve Sanger, Director of British grooming brand The Beard and the Wonderful which launched its eBay store in 2015.
This entrepreneurial attitude is borne out by vast majority (72 per cent) of the small business leaders eBay spoke to as part of its study, who are confident that they are the masters of their own destiny when it comes to the success of their business.
The businesses surveyed in the eBay for Business Index identified five risks that could limit their growth this year:
1) Imports: A weak pound making imports more expensive concerned 22 per cent of SMBs
2) Spending: A reduction in consumer spending limiting sales is seen as a risk by 41 per cent
3) Brexit: Uncertainty caused by Britain’s exit from the EU is seen as likely to limit growth by 36 per cent
4) A ‘Black Swan’: An unknown or unpredictable political or economic incident concerns 28 per cent of SMBs
5) Broadband: unsatisfactory broadband internet provision could limit growth according to 12 per cent of respondents
Historically small businesses have always prospered in economic downturns – as large established companies rein in spending and out holds on recruitment it tends to level the playing field. Often there’s never a better time to start a business and for existing small enterprises their activity becomes more visible and generally they’re more nimble and can react to changing circumstance more quickly.
Whichever way your views are on whether Brexit is a great thing or the biggest disaster to befall the UK in a century, how confident are you that your own business will prosper?