Only one in seven (14%) small businesses have starting planning for a no deal Brexit, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
FSB’s latest research shows that a further 41% believe that a no deal Brexit will have an impact on their business but haven’t yet started planning for the possibility. One in ten (10%) believe that a no deal Brexit will have a positive impact on their ability to do business.
It reveals that almost half of small businesses (48%) believe that a no deal Brexit will have a negative effect on their ability to do business. This figure rises sharply to 66 per cent for those small firms that trade with the EU and to 61 per cent for those that employ a staff member from the EU.
The research also exposed the actions those small firms, who will be impacted by Brexit, intend to take between now and the time the UK leaves the EU in preparation for a no deal Brexit. 35 per cent of small businesses say that they would postpone major business decisions or innovations, while around one in five (21%) say they would cut staff or expenditure.
Responding to the findings, FSB Development Manager for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, Michael Watkinson, said: “Looking at this research it is obvious that our small firms are not prepared or ready for a chaotic no deal Brexit and the impact that it will have on their businesses.
“If you sell your products to the EU, buy goods from the EU or if your business relies on staff from the EU, you now see this outcome as a clear and present threat to your business.
“It is deeply troubling that the prospect of a no deal Brexit is seeing many small firms shelving business decisions, pausing investment and more drastically, thinking about cutting staff. These businesses are the growth engines of the UK economy and it is critical that the Government listens to their worries.
“At this stage, it is understandable that some small businesses haven’t starting preparing as they aren’t actually aware of what they are planning for. What we need now is the Government to work with the small business community to ensure that they are adequately prepared and supported if a no deal Brexit becomes a more likely outcome in the coming weeks.
“The concern is that with only six months to go before exit day, we are now in a race against the clock to avoid a situation where we crash out of the EU causing significant damage to our smallest businesses. This must be avoided at all costs.”