A new study has revealed the top priorities and challenges for small business owners in 2014, and has also measured their confidence for the year ahead.
The study, by law firm Taylor Wessing, found that 84% of start-up owners are ‘confident’ or ‘somewhat confident’ about their strategy for growth this year.
When asked about their plans for the future, money was a key theme in both the priorities and challenges lists, with small businesses mentioning profits, costs and funding among their top concerns.
This year’s top business priorities according to business owners in the study are:
- Increasing profits (29%)
- Growing customer base (25%)
- Cutting costs (11%)
- International expansion (9%)
- Improving customer service (7%)
- Accessing funding (7%)
- Protecting data and intellectual property (5%)
- Investing in product/service innovation (3%)
The key challenges for business owners in 2014 are:
- Access to lending from banks (13%)
- Increases in tax and interest rates (13%) Increasing costs (11%)
- Retaining and boosting competitive USPs (11%)
- Skills shortages (9%)
- Transitioning from start-up to SME (9%)
- Accessing international markets (7%)
- Overregulation (7%)
- Economic volatility (6%)
- Compliance and regulatory issues (5%)
Paul Callaghan, partner at Taylor Wessing, said “Retaining competitive advantage by being smart and nimble about the issues faced today will lead to the growth and survival of UK start-up businesses tomorrow. It’s positive to see that with the right support, UK business owners are confident about business prospects in 2014.