SMEs set out New Year’s resolutions

The majority of the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have cost-cutting on their Christmas lists, and are eyeing up expansion and exploring new marketing opportunities as New Year’s resolutions, according to research.

A study of SME owners found that 58 per cent felt that reducing costs should be their number one priority going into the New Year, while 53 per cent said that exploring new marketing opportunities or increasing their online presence was equally important.

A further 39 per cent said that business expansion and exploring new markets ranked highly on their to-do lists, while 33 per cent said that they planned to engage in more networking opportunities throughout the New Year.

The study also shed light on a number of sector-specific trends. The majority of manufacturing firms said that they wanted to upskill their staff in the New Year, while beauty and fashion firms were more interested in eyeing up business expansion.

Enterprises in the creative sector said that they had big plans to invest in digital and online marketing, while retailers said that reducing their overall costs in 2017 was top priority.

On a less festive note, a significant portion of SMEs said that they feared economic uncertainty in the wake of the Brexit vote. Furthermore, many added that they felt Donald Trump’s US Presidency could potentially have a negative impact on their business.

However, separate studies carried out in recent weeks suggest that general UK business confidence remains high – and that more than half of SMEs foresee no major impact of Brexit negotiations on their growth plans, according to AXA Business Insurance.