New Year, New Start: UK SMEs Look Forward To 2014

According to the research, which surveys 500 SMEs, businesses have a more positive outlook for the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2012. More than half of those surveyed predict strong or improved growth for their businesses during the first six month of this year, a three-fold increase on what had been predicted for the same period in 2012.

Looking at expectations on trading conditions nearly two thirds of the survey respondents say trading conditions in 2013 have been largely as they expected and one third say conditions have been tougher than they initially expected.

Reflecting the recent positive economic forecasts, Aviva’s findings highlight higher levels of enthusiasm and satisfaction among UK entrepreneurs. When asked in 2012 32 per cent said they had lost the initial enthusiasm they had for running their business, but in the 2014 survey this drops dramatically to less than one in ten.

Just 4 per cent say they would consider a return to the workforce as an employee – six times fewer in comparison to the same period from 2012 suggesting more businesses are enjoying being their own boss.

Contrary to common misperceptions that running your own business can be all-consuming and a 24/7 job, the survey found that many small business owners enjoy a balanced lifestyle.

Robert Ledger, head of small business at Aviva, says: “The increased optimism we are seeing is great news for the economy with more than half of the SMEs surveyed telling us they predict strong or improved growth in 2014. This supports PwC reports that the UK will remain the fastest growing major European economy in 2014.

“It is also a promising indicator of a return to business confidence to have so many businesses say they still really enjoy what they do. Qualities like passion and commitment to run their own business, especially when trading is tough, really shows the strength that SMEs have, and need, to survive.

“Our survey results also suggest SMEs are interpreting market conditions better with almost two thirds saying trading conditions in 2013 were largely as they expected them to be. Business acumen is really important in judging when to be prudent and when to take opportunities to grow.”