Business development · 23 February 2017

Optimism highest amongst youngest businesses despite uncertainty

Confidence is high among new businesses despite Brexit worries
Confidence is high among new businesses despite Brexit worries

Irrepressible optimism is a common trait amongst small UK business owners at the start of 2017, despite them facing the most uncertain economic and political time in recent history, new research has shown.

Confidence is highest amongst very young businesses, with as many as 94 per cent of owners at one year-old ventures, and 84 per cent of those from two year-old firms, stating they felt more confident about their prospects going into 2017 than in 2016.

The figures, published in accounting software platform Xero’s latest “Make or Break” report, revealed over three quarters of small business owners felt confident about their company’s chances of survival this year, and nearly a fifth expected 2017 to be a “turnaround” year for their firm.

Commenting in the figures, Xero’s co-founder and managing director, Gary Turner, said that it was encouraging to see such high confidence levels amongst new business owners.

“Given the importance of small business health on our economy here in the UK, it is fantastic to see that small business owners are feeling so confident about the future,” added Turner.

The report revealed the reasons why new and small business owners may be feeling confident going into 2017.

Cutting red tape

Nearly a fifth of small UK business owners in Xero’s survey were confident Brexit would reduce some of the bureaucracy and regulation around doing business, increasing their ability to trade with local partners as a result. Therefore, some 74 per cent of small firms remain confident about the future despite Brexit.

Shunning traditional office structures

Some 42 per cent of new business owners and staff explained that flexible and remote working structures were the biggest boosts to productivity in 2016. Meanwhile, as many as 94 per cent of small business owners using cloud software reaped the benefits of paperless systems and simplified software management.

Prioritising health and happiness

Regular exercise, support from friends and family and having adequate time off was revealed to be very important to new and small business owners in 2016, and the majority plan to make health and wellbeing a key priority in business this year. Over half of new business owners plan to give themselves more of a work-life balance in 2017, and are confident about their business prospects as a result.

Turner went on to say: “As cash flow and healthy finances have never been so vital, owners must keep a sense of realism and listen to external advice and support to ensure that business continues to grow and prosper through the next few years.”

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London. He previously worked as a reporter at Global Trade Review magazine.

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