Midlands businesses confident on achieving growth targets

Jayne Hussey, head of mid-market at Mills & Reeve

Midlands businesses confident on achieving growth targets

Despite the uncertain economic landscape, mid-market businesses across the Midlands remain confident in their growth prospects, according to new research from law firm Mills & Reeve.

The Defying Gravity study is based on the opinions of 500 leaders of mid-market businesses in the UK and reveals that 88% of Midlands businesses plan to increase turnover in this financial year by an average of 24% - with 69% of those willing to bet their house on meeting this target.

This is not unrealistic, with the new research also revealing that just over 73% of mid-market businesses in the region grew turnover last year at an average rate of 12.5%.

It’s not all good news, however, with just over half of businesses believing the economy is not strong and stable (58%) and worried that this will disproportionately affect the mid-market (56%).

External funding is also found to be lacking with just over 56% of mid-market leaders saying that there are few attractive finance options available for established businesses like theirs.

Almost 50% of business leaders stated that they don’t believe mid-market finance is fit for purpose, and more than 58% believe that the UK funding environment is great for start-ups, but not for mid-market firms.

Claire Clarke, managing partner at Mills & Reeve, commented: “Despite very real challenges, it is encouraging to see mid-market leaders remaining defiantly ambitious about growth, determined to beat market conditions and to hold their position as the driving force of the British economy.

“But these businesses are being hindered in their efforts to realise their ambitions. Accessing growth finance suited to mid-market needs is a significant challenge, and the unstable economic and political landscape is causing some businesses to refrain from making the investment necessary to grow.”

Jayne Hussey, head of mid-market at Mills & Reeve, added: “The mid-market is the unsung powerhouse of the UK economy, and we are hopeful that medium-sized businesses can continue to overcome the barriers to growth formed by uncertainty.

“The events of the recent past may have rocked the nation’s confidence, but the resilience, strength and ambition of mid-market business leaders appears to remain intact.”

Defying Gravity follows Full Scale Ahead, a 2015 study that explored paths to growth for mid-market businesses and the question of whether to scale or sell.

Mills & Reeve is a national law firm with more than 500 lawyers and 900 staff across six UK offices.

The Defying Gravity study series aims to understand how companies can achieve high performance in complex and uncertain times.

Research is based on interviews conducted in 2017 with 500 leaders of UK medium-sized businesses across a representative range of industry sectors.

A medium-sized business is defined as having a turnover of between £10 million and £300 million.