Scottish SME bosses 'showing real hopes of growth' despite troubled backdrop

Growth optimism among Scotland’s smaller firms is high, despite recent challenges, according to a new report from independent asset-manager Boost&Co.

Its 2022 Geared for Growth report found that about two thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland are confident about their prospects of achieving growth this year, with 35 per cent being extremely confident about their chances.

The study also showed that the war in Ukraine had adjusted growth plans for 52 per cent of UK businesses, with 13 per cent having to terminate specific customer contracts, and about the same percentage again feeling pressure to change suppliers during the past few weeks.

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However, the highest priority for achieving growth among business leaders, at 35 per cent, was found to be through recovering from the impact of the pandemic.

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Other priorities for growth among Scottish business-leaders in particular included finding the right talent (31 per cent), building on the growth experienced during the pandemic (12 per cent) and securing funding to support the growth of the business (also 12 per cent).

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Boost&Co said the research – billed as a nationally representative survey of 500 business-leaders in the UK – suggests firms have confidence in achieving their growth ambitions this year despite the troubled backdrop.

Joanna Scott, MD at Boost&Co, said it is “really positive” to see that growth optimism has not retreated in the circumstances. “In fact, Scottish business-leaders are showing real hopes of growth, with clear goals for how they believe their organisation can achieve it.

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Almost two-thirds of Scottish businesses are confident of achieving growth this year, the report has found (file image). Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto.

“While the challenges are far from over – with ongoing complications from the pandemic and further disruption to the global business market due to current events – many businesses can, and will, continue to thrive.

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“Mapping out the key areas of focus for SME growth and supporting these promising businesses must be a top priority for the UK economy. There are several ways that businesses can feel better supported in their growth journeys throughout 2022, whether that be through greater access to resources, advice or alternative sources of funding.

"Optimism may be high, but with a turbulent business market across the UK, listening to SMEs and their concerns will be essential for a successful and flourishing economy during the next 12 months.”

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