UK Small Businesses optimistic about 2013 after challenging year

Despite a challenging 2012 new research released has found that there is hope on the horizon for small businesses in 2013 with just over half of small business owners across Britain expecting their own businesses to grow in the coming 12 months.

The American Express UK Small Business Barometer finds that seven in ten small business owners expect growth to come domestically.

Regarding the emerging markets sector, only one in ten businesses will look to this region for opportunities. Attracting new customers and maximising sales will be the key focus for small businesses in the next 12 months, with only 14 per cent focused on cutting budgets to ensure their business is in better financial shape.

The vast majority are heavily relying on word of mouth to attract new customers, therefore having a good customer service experience will be key in driving future growth, with just over a quarter are expecting social media such as Facebook and Twitter to help build their new customer base.

Strategy and planning for the future is the area where over half of the small businesses interviewed wish they could devote more time. However, most small businesses admit that they are operating on a short-term basis with 38 per cent saying they are only planning six months in advance and a third operating on a week-to-week basis only.

Stacey Sterbenz, Director for American Express Small Business Services UK, said: “While previously the focus might have been on cost cutting or fixing cash flow issues, it’s encouraging that the majority of small businesses seem to be focused on growth, acquiring new customers and maximising any potential upturn in consumer confidence.”