08 November, 2022
Eighty-five per cent of North West-based small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are confident their revenue will grow over the next 12 months despite the challenging economic conditions, according to new research by law firm, Forbes Solicitors.
UK expansion, organic growth, and research and development (R&D) rank as the top three factors that will drive business growth.
Three-quarters of companies surveyed say they will invest in digital transformation and new technology in the year ahead, and the same proportion plan to create new jobs in 2023 to address the skills gaps they are facing.
Raising capital to underpin growth is also a priority, with 71% of companies planning to do so. Within that group, 24% will look at grants and government-backed schemes for SMEs, while 23% will use banks and 21% plan to rely on debt financing.
The research has been conducted to mark the launch of the Forbes Solicitors' 'A Region Resilient About Growth' report, which champions the contribution SMEs make to the North West's economy. In its third year, the report has celebrated 100 of the region's businesses for demonstrating reinvention & resilience.
Despite the optimism around their own growth, 57% of North West businesses have less confidence in the strength of the local economy than they did a year ago, and the biggest barriers to growth are inflation (highlighted by 45% of respondents), skills shortages (31%) and a lack of access to finance (25%).
Commenting on the report, Forbes Solicitors managing partner, Pauline Rigby, said: "This research provides a fascinating insight into what the region's SMEs expect from the 12 months ahead. The results are overwhelmingly optimistic. Business owners are backing themselves for growth as they continue to work towards their individual and collective ambitions.
"When we first launched this report, our aim was to champion the ingenuity and strength of the entrepreneurial businesses and their immediate response to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were living and working in incredibly difficult times and two years later, the backdrop is still exceptionally challenging. But what North West business owners have clearly shown is their ability not only to survive tough trading conditions but to thrive through their own innovation and determination."
To view the report, please click here.