With the UK now officially separated from the European Union, new research from Nucleus Commercial Finance has found that the UK’s SMEs are worried about their future and the negative impact Brexit will bring to the economy.

The research found that three in ten (30%) small to medium-sized businesses think Brexit will have a negative impact on their business prospects, whilst only 22% think it will benefit them. Medium-sized businesses are more positive about the opportunities (34%), whilst sole traders are the most likely to report that they will see no impact (53%).

Brexit planning and readiness has been a well-documented issue over the past few years and despite the uncertainty of what Brexit will mean for British businesses, more than two-thirds (69%) feel they are fully informed about what it means for them.

Reassuringly, a quarter have already made the necessary changes to ensure their business is a success. Meanwhile, 15% of those surveyed believe that while they are fully informed they don’t know what measures to take next. One in five (21%) don’t feel informed and had made no changes to their business plan in preparation for the transition period ending on 31st December.

The research analysed the resources SMEs were using to help them navigate and prepare for Brexit, and found that 38% of businesses were relying on the government checklist as a way of keeping them apprised of Brexit events. However, a concerning 29% of SMEs used no resources at all. This was particularly prevalent in sole traders where 63% said they have used no resources, which could possibly be a result of less international commerce. The government checklist resource was followed by the use of online advice tools (23%) and the Brexit advice service (19%).

Chirag Shah, CEO, Nucleus Commercial Finance, said “Now the UK has left the EU, many British businesses are facing widespread changes as they start the new year. This is a real challenge for those SMEs that don’t necessarily have the means and resources they need to plan effectively.”

“However, there is a lot that small and medium business owners can do in the months ahead, and indeed over the next few years as we get used to a post-EU world. Businesses will need to put plans in place that will prepare them for the new changes they are facing and for any potential disruption this may present. Whether this be operational or structural changes, business owners need to consider the cost of this and ensure they have a suitable financing option in place to support them.”