Skip to main content
We're here with practical information for your business. Learn about business planning, running a business and more.

Search

For a successful business, you need a viable business idea, the skills to make it work and the funding. Discover whether your idea has what it takes.

Forming your business correctly is essential to ensure you are protected and you comply with the rules. Learn how to set up your business.

It is likely you will need funding to start your business unless you have your own money. Discover some of the main sources of start up funding.

Businesses and individuals must account for and pay various taxes. Understand your tax obligations and how to file, account and pay any taxes you owe.

Businesses are required to comply with a wide range of business laws. We introduce the main rules and regulations you must comply with.

Learn why business planning is an essential exercise if your business is to start and grow successfully, attract funding or target new markets.

Marketing matters. It drives sales and helps promote your brand and products. Discover how to market your business and reach your target customers.

Some businesses need a high street location whilst others can be run from home. Understand the key factors from cost to location, size to security.

Your employees can your biggest asset. They can also be your biggest challenge. We explain how to recruitment and manage staff successfully.

It is likely your business could not function without some form of IT. Learn how to specify, buy, maintain and secure your business IT.

Few businesses manage the leap from start up to high-growth business. Learn what it takes to scale up and take your business to the next level.

One in four small firms are optimistic about growth

2 February 2021

A quarter of UK small businesses are predicting growth in the next three months according to a new study.

The latest quarterly Business Barometer from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has found that UK small business growth forecasts remain unchanged on the previous two quarters, despite the new year lockdown. The poll, conducted by YouGov in January, asked 1,464 UK small business decision-makers about their expectations for the next three months.

Following a crash in small business growth forecasts during the first lockdown in March 2020 - falling from 39% to 14% overnight - the proportion of small business owners predicting growth doubled the following quarter and has remained unchanged ever since.

Unsurprisingly, the survey has uncovered marked differences between sectors. Those that are more optimistic about growth include directors in finance/accounting (40%), media/marketing (36%) and IT/telecoms (36%). By comparison, just 19% of businesses in retail and 9% in hospitality predict any form of growth over the next three months. Worryingly, 29% of small retail businesses and 52% of small firms in hospitality fear contraction or collapse in the same time period.

The findings also reveal that Scottish small businesses are the least likely in the UK to be predicting any form of growth, with just 17% of small firms north of the border anticipating growth compared to 34% of small businesses in London.

Another significant discovery is that Brexit is "quietly but decisively … having a direct bearing on short-term growth plans", according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance. Those small businesses for whom the EU is their biggest market were most likely to predict contraction or collapse (31%), whereas businesses that had a broad-based international reach beyond the UK were most likely to predict growth in the next three months (36%). However, small businesses that rely purely on the domestic market for sales were more likely to predict contraction or collapse than growth (28% versus 22%).

"We live in unprecedented times and the surprises from our latest quarterly study reflect this," said Joanna Morris, head of insight at Hitachi Capital Business Finance. "Overall, it is hugely positive that growth outlook for the small business sector as a community remains strong. Our study showed how dramatically confidence fell with the first lockdown in March 2020, and whilst growth forecasts have not matched pre-pandemic levels, the consistency of more than one in four predicting growth over each of the last three quarters is a firm and positive building block for the British economy."

Written by Rachel Miller.

Stay up-to-date with business advice and news

Sign up to this lively and colourful newsletter for new and more established small businesses.