“Marked increase” in confidence among small business owners across globe

Sixth Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur study reports international “revival” in profitability and hiring activity over past 12 months

Small business confidence has seen a marked increase over the last 12 months with small firms across the globe reporting a rise in profitability and hiring activity, according to the sixth annual Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur study.

Published using responses from 3,500 small business owners with fewer than 50 employees from the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and America, the survey claims to offer an “insight” into the mood and financial wellbeing of the small business sector.

Of the study’s conclusions, the key findings include an increase in profits across 2013 with 45% of respondents reporting revenue growth, and an overall pick-up in optimism for the next 12 months ahead with 47% of UK respondents confident about the future.

The study suggested an uptake in recruitment with 18% of small companies having added staff over the last year compared to 11% in the previous year, with 14% of those surveyed planning to take on new employees in 2014/2015.

According to the study, the number of new start-ups launched since the recession has also risen with 38% of the companies interviewed launched on or after 2007/2008 –interestingly over half of these “recession start-ups” were set up by women.

Despite a growth in confidence and business optimism, the report suggested that small firms still harbour major fears with 34% of those surveyed listing their biggest concern as not being able to attract new customers, and 31% fearful that government will not support small businesses.

In terms of exit strategies, the study found that a third of small business owners were considering exiting within the next five years with 37% of those aged under 40 planning to exit their business by 2019 compared with 44% of those aged 60 and over.

Discussing the study, Hiscox CEO, Bronek Masojada, said:

“The findings indicate that the grit and determination small business owners have shown in previous years’ studies is paying off. This is particularly apparent in the performance of small firms set up during the recession, which appear to be playing a key role in driving economic recovery.

“This is immensely encouraging not only for small business owners, but for anyone with an interest in the small business sector – from policy-makers to academics.”

Read the latest DNA of an Entrepreneur report here.


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