Business confidence jumps with most small firms predicting growth
Business confidence rose again in the second quarter, the Small Firms Association said in a report due to be published today.
"While the environment remains challenging, the business performance is encouraging and companies are looking to the future with an increasing sense of optimism," SFA director Avine McNally said.
Six out of 10 firms indicated that their business will be moving back into a growth phase over the next 12 months, with the majority of respondents focused on international markets.
The survey also showed that just under a quarter of respondent companies rate the overall business environment to be either very good or good. More than four out of 10 rate their own business currently as very good or good. Only 4pc felt their business was in decline, compared with 6pc in the same period last year.
Over the next year, small firms are planning to invest in brand development (42pc), staff development (27pc), IT (16pc), machinery (8pc) and upgrading premises (7pc).
The top five business priorities are finding new customers for existing products or services, developing new products or services, adopting more modern forms of marketing such as social networks, increasing the skills of existing staff and exploiting digital technologies to deliver better customer service.