SMEs optimistic for year ahead

Small businesses in the UK are very positive about the year ahead with more than half outlining plans to hire staff, according to a new survey.


HSBC polled 1000 small and medium sized enterprises and found plans to boost workforce numbers were in place across many of the organisations questioned.


The figures come amid a backdrop of concern relating to a purported skills shortage in the UK, with the technological sectors said to those worst affected.


Instead, the majority of the firms questioned said they believed hiring skilled staff into permanent positions would not pose a problem during the next 12 months.


Some 54% of SMEs unveiled plans to hire with the same proportion suggesting that staff in permanent roles can be more beneficial to their business in the long term than those hired on a casual or agency basis.


Firms are also positive about their prospects for turnover growth in the next year, a feeling felt by 57% of those questioned.


More than a third of these companies were expecting growth of at least 6%, with those in the manufacturing, consumer and retail sectors among the most confident.


Investing in staff and technology can also help to ensure the longevity of a firm, although this should only occur when finances are available to do so.


While the work environment being positive is good news for small firms in the UK, there remains a need to manage the situation carefully to ensure continued growth.


Financial management is at the forefront of this, as rapid expansion can cause issues further down the line if expenditure is not carefully monitored.


Small companies can easily overspend when hunting for methods to expand, a factor that can leave them requiring assistance from insolvency practitioners or other experts in certain circumstances.


By not rushing the expansion process and by making well-thought-out and calculated decisions, these small firms can ensure they remain on a solid financial footing.


By Phil Smith


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