More than two thirds of small business owners (67%) are working on plans to deliver growth in the next three months. This represents a rise from this time last year (61%) and in every English region, there is an increase in the proportion of small businesses now working on an action plan for growth.
The new quarterly research from Hitachi Capital’s British Business Barometer recently indicated a fall in the proportion of small businesses predicting growth for the next three months – and a sharp rise in the percentage of respondents fearful that their business would not survive (up from 5% in April to 10% in July). The context of small businesses entering a challenging economic period has given many the added impetus to try to take control of their own fortunes.
The new Hitachi poll asked 1,201 small businesses decision makers what if anything they were planning to do to achieve growth over the next three months.
For many, getting their ventures in good financial shape was the top priority for the months ahead. With a weak pound and the first of what is expected to be a series of interest rate rises, many small business owners are focusing on cutting costs, improving cash flow and getting better finance deals:
- Keeping fixed costs down (37%)
- Improving cash flow (20%
- Being stricter on getting paid on time (16%)
- Reassessing financial commitments (10%)
- Find new funding solutions (7%)
Beyond financial matters, the three main strategies that small businesses were looking at involved hiring staff, expanding into new geographical markets and investing in equipment and infrastructure to power this. In fact, those businesses most likely to predict significant expansion over-indexed in all of these three areas.
|National average||Small businesses predicting significant growth|
|Hiring more people||16%||50%|
|Expanding into new, overseas markets||15%||31%|
|Investing in new equipment||14%||36%|