Hitachi Capital has revealed that two thirds (67%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are working on their growth plans in the next three months, compared with 61% this time last year.
For these small businesses that are predicting significant growth, it is thought by Hitachi that their priority is to hire more staff, as 50% of these businesses require the ‘extra manpower’, with IT and legal services firm having the most pressing needs. Hitachi also reported that investing in new equipment is seen as the second- best way to encourage growth within a small business, with agricultural farms reportedly the ‘most likely’ to purchase new equipment. A final priority for those small businesses who are expecting growth is to expand into new, overseas marketing.
However, getting their ventures in good financial shape is the top priority for these businesses. With factors such as a weak pound and what is expected to be the first series of interest rates rising, many SME owners are focusing on cutting costs, improving cash flow and being stricter on getting paid on time.
Gavin Wraith-Carter, Managing Director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said: “What is so encouraging from our new study is that the small business community is not sitting back and waiting for a Brexit outcome to be known. They have told us they have concerns, but are acting on them. Across the UK there has been a notable rise in the proportion of small business owners that have adopted strategies to help them seize opportunities and try to secure growth at a time of uncertainty. The businesses that predict the most significant growth are those that are investing in their businesses – bringing people in, looking at new markets and looking at the equipment they need to power growth”
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