There is always a lot of political hyperbole around the time of budget, but numbers don’t lie, and yesterday Mr Hunt revealed his ‘growth budget’ to the country. Looking at some of the reports this morning, there is a overwhelming air of discontent when it comes to the future of small business, including manufacturers.

Tony Wright and I have been writing for several months about the headwinds SMEs and specifically manufacturers have been facing. Despite some good news in respect of energy prices reducing a little, the economic forecast not being as severe as suggested, and inflation due to come down by the end of the year it is still a difficult time for SMEs and the budget may exacerbate this position.

Corporation tax is due to go up from 19% to 25% and despite there being extended relief on the energy price cap by three months for residential customers, businesses won't receive the same treatment, with the current scheme due to end on 1 April 2023. Small business rates are also due to increase.  All of these have led to over a half of SMEs believing they won’t be able to pay their bills this year, according to a survey by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

This could undermine the Chancellor’s hopes that British businesses will invest more in the economy, with BCC director general Shevaun Haviland saying “Almost half of businesses have told us they will struggle to pay their energy bills from April and they cannot invest when they are fighting to survive”.

The Financial Times has reported the same gloomy outlook citing the Federation of Small Businesses who state that SMEs will feel ‘snubbed’ and ‘short-changed’ by the budget.

All of this leads back to the real question; how do SMEs fight for survival amongst ongoing setbacks? The true answer to that question is simple, asking for help. Often the hardest action to take is to ask for help, because as humans with all our pride on the line, we prefer to find a way ourselves. But the smartest route out of a high pressure situation where anyone is struggling to survive, is seeking help.

There are options available including; debt advice/refinancing, corporate finance to seek an exit, or cashflow review and business advice on how to find more efficiencies in the business and strengthen the balance sheet.

Our experience suggests that all too often, asking for help is the hardest part, but if done early enough – many choppy waters can still be navigated.