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Cautious Optimism for 2013

With 2013 now well under way, it is interesting to look at the confidence levels of small businesses for the year ahead. While the economic outlook has been mixed to say the least, levels of confidence are still looking upbeat despite ongoing tough sales conditions. A new survey by Lloyds TSB Commercial has revealed that many small businesses are cautiously optimistic heading into the new year – will this mean increased growth prospects?

This survey has revealed that most small firms interviewed anticipate a rise in profits, sales and orders over the next six months. Not only this, but they expect to be growing their export activities to Europe and the rest of the world in 2013. This will come as good news to the government, who have long been encouraging more small firms to export goods and services in order to drive growth.

However, it’s not all good news. The survey also revealed that business investment remains weak, with only 19% of businesses looking to expand investment and 17% planning to cut it in the next six months. Similarly, less than a fifth of firms are looking to increase their staff numbers in 2013, and 11% might need to make staff cuts in the foreseeable future.

The biggest threats to UK small businesses were seen to be weaker demand within the UK for products, as well as employment issues and regulatory concerns. This weak domestic demand is one thing that is driving more businesses towards exporting as they look to compensate for lower sales within UK markets.

If you’re finding that sales aren’t stacking up, then expanding into exports could be an opportunity to take advantage of. Releasing cash flow by using invoice factoring could get you one step closer, by giving you the breathing room and working capital to invest in ecommerce in order to facilitate trading abroad.

While trading conditions remain tough within the UK, many businesses are feeling surprisingly upbeat, perhaps as they are looking to take advantage of new growth opportunities in 2013. If you want to grow your business, it’s time to do the same.

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