Despite the uncertainty around Brexit and the wider economy, the optimism of small business owners would appear to be bucking the trend. A majority of them are forecasting growth in 2018.
Flexspace undertook their annual Business Sentiment Survey recently, canvassing over 160 SME owners across the country. The majority of the UK’s small business owners are putting growth on their 2018 agenda according to the survey results.
In fact 80% (128) of respondents expect moderate or substantial growth for their business in 2018
A further 78% (126) expect their confidence in the UK economy to increase or remain the same for the remainder of 2018.
“With uncertainty around productivity, the UK economy and a changing global landscape, it may be easy to assume small businesses are pessimistic about the future,” explained Lee Maytum, Managing Director of Flexspace.
“Yet this survey suggests the exact opposite. Small businesses are feeling positive with plans for growth.
According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SMEs accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2017. That’s the bread-and-butter of the UK economy, making surveys like this so important. They stop us making assumptions about how small business owners are feeling and instead provide a strong indicator to business sentiment and expectations.”
43 per cent of business owners also said they intended to recruit in 2018. A sizable 32% of those, said that they hoped to recruit four or more employees.
“92 per cent of those who responded to the survey currently employ less than 26 members of staff. The intention to up headcount by four or more is a sign of significant growth for a small business,” added Lee.
Responding to the results, Flexspace Leominster customer and Partner in Swan Brewery, Gill Bullock, said the positive outlook was not a surprise. This was perhaps, a representation of small businesses, like their Leominster microbrewery, of targeting new opportunities:
“Increasing competition in a static market is probably our biggest concern at the moment. That’s why we’ve put strategies in place to maximise new routes to market.”
Almost exclusively working with local small businesses, the sentiment expressed in the survey is a positive indicator for Swan Brewery. Gill explained:
“The ingredients used in our ale are, by and large, from a British source. We use local suppliers and our customers are primarily based in Herefordshire and Worcestershire. There are many different UK-based stakeholders in the chain. Naturally, their mood and income will impact our business too.”
Gill has some advice for other small businesses.
“Anyone concerned about securing growth in the next 12 months. I’d suggest looking for new ways to sell your products. That also helps you stand out from competitors.
We always aim to establish ourselves as a brewery that’s big on sustainability. That feeds through to our entire business model and differentiates us in a busy marketplace.”
Based in Flexspace Tockwith, Perennials Gardening & Landscapes, is approaching business in 2018 in a remarkably similar way. Julia Harker, Company Director of Perennials, explained: “We’ve identified new routes to market and we’re gearing up for growth.
We recently moved into our new Flexspace unit to give us better access to areas where our services are in high-demand. We’ve also focussed more on landscaping as opposed to horticultural services. Landscaping for new builds is proving to be a lucrative and growing market for us, especially with the recent government drive to build more new homes.”
The Business Sentiment Survey was open to all Flexspace customers from all of the company’s 59 centres across the UK.
98% of respondents stated their business turnover was £5 million or less in 2016.
If you’d like to join other optimistic SMEs at our 59 Flexspace locations across the UK, please get in touch on 0800 033 4444. We’d be please to discuss our various introductory deals for new clients.
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Flexspace have helped me turn my little dream into a profitable reality! Being a small business owner looking for premises can sometimes be daunting but Loraine and the Flexspace team helped me with every step in finding the perfect solution for my business and I couldn’t be more grateful.
The team go above and beyond to look after their tenants and nothing is every too much trouble. Premises are clean, well maintained and I always feel extremely safe when I’m at work even on those dark winter nights! I have highly recommended Flexspace to fellow business owners – a hidden gem in Peterborough!
Our offices in Blackpool are easily accessible for the people we support, some of whom are in wheelchairs, there is a ramp to the entrance door and disabled facilities. Our offices are nicely decorated, comfortable and affordable.
Our Area Manager is very helpful and readily available should we have any queries or problems. The public areas are kept clean, safe and presentable. She goes over and above the call of duty for the clients.
I have enjoyed renting from Flexspace for the last 3 years and hopefully will be there for a good few years to come. Found the staff very helpful and easy to get on with.
Excellent service, the Centre team are happy to assist with meeting rooms at short notice. They ensure that repairs are carried out quickly. I needed several new sockets in my room and these were provided very quickly with no inconvenience to myself.
The staff are friendly, professional and knowledgeable and nothing is ever a problem.
Flexspace Dunfermline has had a big impact on the growth of my business over the last 3 years. Offering the ability to offer in-house training to clients with the use of the meeting room facilities. The team always ensure that the rooms are set up to the exact requirements I need to deliver the training to my clients. From equipment set up to the supply of refreshments to my delegates.
Having a dedicated team onsite that are always on hand to assist with anything from reception to administration is a real benefit to my business. The staff are always very approachable and nothing is ever too much for them when I ask for their assistance.
RDM Group has occupied buildings on the Bilton Industrial Estate for over 22 years and we have seen many owners in our time. In 2007 ‘Flexspace’ acquired the estate and through their resident manager, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the overall operation of the estate together with a continual investment and improvement program into the buildings, security and facilities which makes the estate an extremely good place for our company to be located.
Big thanks to you and Alan for your efficient handling of the whole process.
Many thanks for your support in our move into new office space, everything has been really smooth and easy even down to ensuring locks were changed and secure.
The facilities are excellent and spotlessly clean throughout and it’s so helpful for us to have access to additional rooms for booking for training events when we need it. We are so glad we made the move into a really pleasant and well maintained working environment.