Half of small-business owners in UK expect growth in 2013

Research conducted by American Express has found that 51 per cent of small-business owners across Britain expect their businesses to grow in the coming 12 months.

According to the American Express UK Small Business Barometer, a further 37 per cent expect their businesses to stay in the same shape, while only 11 per cent expect their businesses to contract in 2013.

Seven in 10 small-business owners expect growth to come domestically. Regarding the emerging markets sector, only one in 10 businesses will look to this region for opportunities.

Attracting new customers (80 per cent) and maximising sales (62 per cent) will be the key focus for small businesses in the next 12 months, with only 14 per cent focused on cutting budgets to ensure their businesses are in better financial shape.

The majority (76 per cent) are relying on word of mouth to attract new customers; as a result, having a good customer-service experience will be key in driving future growth. Just more than a quarter (26 per cent) are expecting social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to help build their new customer base.

More than half (56 per cent) of the small businesses questioned said they wished they could devote more time to strategy and planning for the future. However, most small businesses admitted operating on a short-term basis, with 38 per cent saying they are only planning six months in advance and a third operating on a week-to-week basis only.