Research Lifts the Lid on Region’s Business Challenges

Recent research by Ipsos MORI commissioned by chartered accountants and business advisers, Price Bailey, has provided detailed insight into the views, perceptions and issues faced by business leaders across East Anglia and London.

The research – “Inside the Minds of Business Leaders” – was commissioned by Price Bailey to provide an up to date overview of the main challenges, issues and growth opportunities for the firm’s clients and for regional businesses as a whole.

The report addressed four main areas. The first examined business leaders’ prospects and confidence and found that 61% of participants said their company was growing in financial terms and three in five (57%) expected their company’s financial position to improve in the next twelve months. The latter figure was identical to the results of an Ipsos MORI survey of 102 British Captains of Industry in Q4 2015.

In contrast, only 44% thought the prospects for the UK as a whole would improve over the period, and just 14% saw the prospects for the EU improving, with 40% believing they would get worse.
The second section looked at the issues that keep business leaders awake at night and a refreshing 15% slept soundly with no issues keeping them awake. However, over half of participants (53%) agree that the level of regulation they have to deal with is having a negative impact on their business. Perhaps surprisingly, only 39% agreed that banks make it difficult for businesses like theirs to secure the funds needed to grow.

The section examining planning and strategy addressed the issues of business and exit planning in particular and found that while seven in ten (70%) have a business plan, 58% have no exit plan. Of those with a business plan, 40% review it regularly with 55% of these businesses reviewing it on a monthly or quarterly basis. Despite these figures just over a quarter (26%) of participants claimed that they had no business plan at all and ran their business on a day to day basis.

Of those participants with no exit plan (116) the majority said this was because they had no immediate plans to exit their business (62%), while over two in five (43%) did not see the need for such a plan.

The fourth area to be addressed was the relationship with Europe and attitudes to Brexit. The research, which was conducted before the date for the EU referendum was announced, found that one in three participants (34%) would retain the status quo, with our relationship remaining broadly the same as today. However, when the research results were presented at four regional events and the audience were asked to vote whether to stay in or leave the EU, the proportion voting to remain in the EU had risen considerably to 56% in Norwich and 74% in Cambridge. However, in each of the four events a notable proportion of attendees (ranging from 31% in Hertford to 56% in Cambridge) believed that the UK leaving the EU would have neither a positive or negative effect on their business.

INFOGRAPHIC: EU Referendum – What do UK business leaders feel about the EU?

“When we were looking for an overview of what the main challenges, issues and growth opportunities were for our clients and for regional businesses as a whole, we found that much of the information available failed to address business confidence at a regional level and was often out of date,” said Price Bailey Marketing and Business Development Director, Keith Burns. “We therefore took the decision to commission Ipsos MORI to conduct this topical research on our behalf to provide an insight into the region’s owner managed business community. The results provide an unparalleled insight into the issues exercising the minds of business leaders in the region and will enable us to better serve our clients in the months and years ahead.”

A full copy of the Ipsos MORI research can be downloaded from the Price Bailey website at