Seventy-nine percent of small business owners expect their companies to grow this year, up 13% from last year, and 74% think their business is in good shape.

According to recent data from American Express and Small company Saturday, despite still difficult economic conditions, small company owners in the UK are growing more optimistic about prospective business development.

Seventy-nine percent of small business owners, up 13% from last year, anticipate seeing growth in their companies during the upcoming 12 months. In addition, American Express discovered that the same percentage, compared to 74% a year ago, felt their business is currently in good shape.

Despite the difficult market environment, 64% predict that business performance will be stronger than it was in the previous two years in the last quarter of 2023. Only 15% of respondents to the survey think it will become worse.

A year ago, 35% of 1,000 UK SME decision-makers surveyed for the annual American Express barometer believed that running a firm had gotten harder. As 53% of respondents listed the growing costs of products, services, and energy as the largest challenge to running their firm in the upcoming six months, inflation continues to have a significant negative impact on small businesses.

Other notable obstacles included fixed expenditures like labor (23%), business rates and taxes (25%) and other fees. Meanwhile, 57% of respondents think that their desire for growth has been limited by cash flow issues.

“Uplift” in self-assurance of small business owners

Despite worries about difficulties, a sizable share of SME companies are acting proactively to spur growth in the upcoming months. 25% want to diversify their product or service offering, while 30% want to increase sales and marketing efforts. Another 20% said they intended to spend money on cutting-edge technologies.

“While SMEs continue to face a challenging environment, there are real signs of positivity in our research, with an uplift in business owners and leaders feeling confident about the future, as well as plans to invest across a number of areas of their operations,” said Amanda Salt, vice president of small and medium enterprises and UK card services at American Express.

“Our focus is on supporting these companies and the business owners, helping them to drive growth and succeed in the years to come.”

Eighty two percent of SME owners and decision-makers in the UK agree that small firms should be encouraged more for their contributions to the economy and society.

Eighty-two percent of all respondents think entrepreneurship should be honored more, with 76% even calling for increased government support and new policies to promote the expansion of small businesses.

UK entrepreneurs are expanding
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