Winter 2016-17 Survey: the results

Winter 2016-17 Survey: the results

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A Survey on 200+ European Business shows 20%+ of UK-based have been impacted by the vote to leave the EU


  • 202 EU-based SMEs
  • Of which, 126 UK-based
  • Of which, 30 (23.8%) had at least one project impacted by the vote
  • These companies said at least one on-going project was stopped 10% of the time (3), a budgeted project was put on hold 23% (7) and authorisation delayed 67% (20) of the times
  • Of these businesses,
    • Almost half (14 or 46.7%) are Established SMEs
    • Almost three quarters (22 or 73.3%) have a turnover <1M
    • Around half (16, 53.3%) have less than 5 employees
    • Almost all (28 or 93.3%) serve other businesses
    • Around 30% (13, 29.6%) provide professional services
    • Almost a quarter (7, 23.3%) do not trade internationally


Businesses are experiencing uncertainty at an unprecedented level. At a glimpse, figures are worrying, considering established SMEs and businesses not trading internationally have been impacted.

However, there is a deeper level of data to consider: those who said they weren’t affected by the vote also said their main issues were business development, marketing or funding. On the other hand, those who said they were affected, also said their main issue was product management.

Therefore, we think the way the vote has affected these businesses is not an absolute: it depends on where they were in their journey, and those more resilient were less affected.

So, what should businesses do? There are two options – one is to see Brexit as an opportunity and the other is to baton down the hatches and make cutbacks in anticipation of a downturn.

Both could be the right option for any business and it’s possible to feel paralysed by fear and uncertainty. The danger is, however, that companies end up doing nothing and lose two or more years of pondering time while their competitors drive forwards.

The unstoppable march towards pay as you go services, for everything from staffing to vehicles, offices and virtually all IT support, make it easier to grow without risking huge amounts of capital.

Overall, we’re advising companies to invest carefully, rather than cut back – whether they should invest in expansion or in innovation and getting ready to grow again. But to do it in a flexible, focused way.


This article was also published on London Business Matter

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