In a recent survey by Charles Stanley, more than half of British business owners have identified high interest rates as a considerable threat to their businesses.

The research also highlighted a strong sense of optimism, with 54% viewing the latest recession as an entrepreneurial opportunity and 51% predicting a boom in British entrepreneurship.

Out of 500 British business owners surveyed, 64% started their businesses as entrepreneurs, while 20% took over family businesses. The remaining participants acquired business ownership through various other means.

With the UK general election approaching, 45% believe a change in government could present new opportunities for their enterprises.

The study revealed that 63% of business owners see artificial intelligence (AI) as an opportunity, while only 17% view it as a threat.

Opportunities are also seen in increased workforce diversity (65%), hybrid working models (56%), and falling inflation (53%).

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The ageing workforce presents a divided perspective, with 32% seeing it as an opportunity and 30% as a threat.

High interest rates, however, stand out as the most significant concern, with 53% of business owners feeling threatened by them, as opposed to 29% who see them as an opportunity.

In the context of the upcoming election and potential policy shifts, 53% of business owners believe an increased minimum wage would positively impact their business, and 46% anticipate benefits from a reduced lobbying culture.

Conversely, 19% and 12%, respectively, expect negative effects from these changes.

Charles Stanley director of financial planning Harry Bell said: “As we hurtle towards the General Election, all eyes – both personal and professional – are on political parties and their policy proposals. Regardless of who holds the keys to Downing Street on the 5th July, we are entering into a period of change. Thankfully, British entrepreneurs are ready for the challenge, and are largely optimistic about the road ahead.

“Entrepreneurs and owners are the backbone of British business, and will be instrumental in the country’s plan for growth. With business finances so closely tied to personal wellbeing and wealth, it’s critical that those owners are supported.

“With solid financial planning and a comprehensive wealth management strategy, they will be freed up to focus their efforts on steering their firm through waters that – whilst choppy – may be full of treasure.”

The survey, conducted between 16 May and 23 May 2024, included UK business owners with household incomes of more than £100,000.