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Big confidence in the Small Business Barometer 2016

New research into the confidence and growth ambitions of Britain’s smallest firms has found more than two-thirds of them expect to expand in the next six months.

The report from small business support group Enterprise Nation, which polled 800 small companies and consulted dozens more via focus groups, found 68% were expecting to swell in the last quarter of 2016. Of those, 59% said they were planning to boost profits by introducing new products or services.

While 36% said they were more confident about the next six months than previously, 24% said their confidence remained the same. Of those that were more confident, one fifth (20%) put the increased optimism down to organic growth.

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: “The smallest firms are unlike any other business community – and they remain the most optimistic despite the barrage of negativity they are constantly being exposed to.

“Firms at this stage can often pivot and adapt more quickly, as well as chase opportunity rather than being locked into contracts that begin to offer dwindling margins. While these firms might not have ambitions to become unicorns or gazelles, their contribution to the British economy in terms of revenue and employment cannot be dismissed.”


Confidence by region

Businesses in North Yorkshire were the most optimistic, with 44% saying business confidence was better than the previous six months and 76% expecting to see growth in the latter part of 2016/early 2017. However, only 18% of firms in the East of England said they felt more confident, the lowest in the country.

Of all business sectors, retail was the most confident, with 47% saying they were more confident than the last six months, followed by tech firms on 42%. The sector that seemed to be least confident were food and drink, fashion and homewares and businesses services with 31%.

The Small Business Barometer will be repeating these questions twice every year. The results will help to build up a picture of the confidence, exporting ambitions and growth plans of Britain’s smallest firms – and the issues that affect them.


You can see the full infographic and get a more detailed version of the report from Enterprise Nation


Enterprise Nation launched in 2005 and has since helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder Emma Jones MBE, it’s also a leading campaigning voice for small business with the Government.

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