According to the latest quarterly update from Britain’s biggest business representation group, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), confidence levels are now at their highest levels since 2014.
The figures were part of a national report which showed a large across-the-board UK upswing in optimism among small business owners – but the South West figures were even higher than the national average.
Nicola Bailey, FSB Development Manager for Dorset, said she hoped that this surge in confidence would “encourage businesses to start believing again after a very difficult 12 months.”
“Confidence levels are as high as they had been since the end of 2014 and that is something we really should applaud, because when businesses start feeling more confident then actual business starts to happen again – and that can only be good for all of us,” she said.
The report showed that more than half of those polled in the South West expected to see their revenues increase in the next quarter, one in three expect to increase investment over the next three months, while 49 per cent said that they hoped to grow either moderately or rapidly in the next 12 months.
There were still a number of concerns recorded. One in ten in the South West said they intended to downsize, sell or close the business in the next twelve months. Post-Covid trading conditions, consumer demand, and getting appropriately skilled staff were all cited as perceived barriers to growth over the coming 12 months.
Nicola Bailey said that despite the boost in confidence the situation still looked very testing for many local SMEs.
“There are still many businesses who are extremely worried about whether they will be in a financial position to continue once the lockdown ends and we should never underestimate the pain and anguish many are going through. Just because the Covid pain is easing it doesn’t mean that the problems for small businesses or their finances will come to an end as well,” she said.
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