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Revenue confidence surges, but cashflow and tech adoption remain key concerns

Maureen Penfold

Twice a year we ask business leaders across the country to share their aspirations for the next six months and track business confidence. 

Our latest Owner Managed Business (OMB) survey carried out in December 2023 looks at these consistent measures as well as new issues affecting UK businesses today. 

Our latest survey findings show that, out of the 500 OMBs that took part, 80% are highly or fairly confident about the general outlook for the year ahead, with 88% feeling confident of hitting their revenue target over the next 12 months. When it comes to profitability targets, businesses are more confident than they've been at any point since our surveys began in 2021, with 80% feeling fairly or highly confident about hitting their profit target in the next 12 months. 

Challenges with recruiting and retaining staff have certainly not gone away, but it is encouraging to see higher levels of recruitment than we have recorded since the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2021, with 43% saying they have increased their workforce in the past three months, and 49% planning to take on more staff. 

Whilst it is great to deliver our most optimistic report to date, there are still a number of challenges facing OMBs in 2024. Nearly half of OMBs see rising interest rates as a challenge, followed by business costs, and adopting and implementing new technology. 

OMBs have become more strategically focused on their business plans in 2024, using financial data to make key decisions and protect their businesses.

It is apparent that whilst there is a lot more optimistic outlook than in previous reports, OMBs are exercising prudent restraint in the aftermath of COVID-19, prioritising stability over rapid growth in their strategic approach. 

While achieving profitability targets in 2024 appears promising, OMBs will need to be proactive in addressing key concerns, including cash flow and investment risks, to ensure current positivity is realised over the coming year. 

To download the full report - click here