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Published by Helen Bogie on 30 October 2018

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Our nationwide research project explores how 530 privately owned UK businesses grow, the barriers to growth they encounter and where they are looking to expand. The research has been published in our Going for Growth: UK company growth strategies to 2021 report.

If you would like a copy of this report, please contact

We have been advising growing businesses for more than 100 years. Over the summer of 2018, we set out to discover how privately owned businesses approach growth, their hopes and aspirations, the challenges to growth and what can be done to overcome those challenges.

Uncertain times

Not since the financial collapse of 2008 has the UK and global economy been more uncertain. Brexit, domestic political infighting, the threat of trade tariffs, and the increasingly inward-looking politics of the UK and many EU neighbours leave many unsure where to turn next. Businesses crave certainty and that is in short supply. Businesses, their advisers, and our politicians need to understand the drivers and barriers to growth. We need to be ready to step up and work together to ensure we are all prepared for a post-Brexit future.

A positive outlook

But UK private companies remain bullish. Businesses have grown and predict good future growth. 60% of those surveyed say their companies have grown by more than a quarter in the past three years and 58% remain positive that they will grow by more than a quarter over the next three years. Businesses also appear optimistic about Brexit – 47% see Brexit as a business opportunity and 45% say their growth plans have been positively affected by Brexit. Just 24% perceive Brexit as an obstacle and only 24% think it has negatively affected their growth plans. The remaining businesses remain uncertain.

Andrew Griggs, Senior Partner, said: “UK businesses are bullish about future growth, despite the uncertainty in the economic and political landscape. They are, however sensibly cautious about how future growth will be funded, turning to retained profits or organic growth.

“It is surprising, however, that given political and economic uncertainty is considered the primary barrier to growth that so few businesses scenario plan and prepare for future uncertainties. We would expect to see and encourage more businesses to prepare for future threats to their revenue.”

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