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Research indicates improved business confidence

 

In a recent survey of its members, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) found 85% of those questioned were positive about 2014 and intended to develop their businesses in the coming year.

 

Alexander Jackman, Head of Policy at the FPB, said, ‘GDP figures are positive, employment is up and confidence among our members has lifted accordingly’.

 

Other figures show that 30% expect to increase their workforce, and 15% expect to increase workforce hours. Meanwhile, a reported 60% of respondents are looking to target new customers.

 

‘Small businesses are showing a positive, though restrained, outlook,’ Jackman added.

 

The main challenges facing small businesses were cited as time, expertise and money – despite better access to finance. The cost of doing business remains a key concern, with 46% of members claiming that business rates continue to be a difficulty, coupled with the rising cost of utilities.

 

‘Time is now the biggest barrier for business growth potential in 2014,’ said Jackman. ‘A focus on creating stability of regulation for small businesses would be enormously helpful’.