Small business owners cautiously optimistic on year ahead – research

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Nearly nine in ten small business owners in the UK are confident they will achieve their main goal in 2020, according to new research commissioned by Vistaprint.

The study of 500 small business owners found their top 2020 objectives include substantially increasing revenue and growth and reaching new customers. Over one in five are also focused on generating repeat customers.

And although almost one in ten said the main reason they started their business was to earn more money – a third are yet to breakeven.

As a result, one in 10 consider this to be their main goal for 2020, although one in five are aiming to simply ‘survive the next year’.

When asked how they are currently feeling about 2020, UK business owners are most likely to say they feel confident, optimistic and prepared. However, one in five do feel apprehensive about what is to come.

The research also found a quarter of business owners admitted they see the upcoming year being a ‘struggle’.

This is due to more than half predicting political changes will have an effect on their business, while two fifths think they will struggle due to bills and expenses rising. A further sixth are anxious about competitor companies opening nearby.

“While political changes and economic barriers are very real challenges facing Britain’s small businesses, our research shows that these factors haven’t dampened the UK’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Simon Braier, Customer Strategy and Insights Director from Vistaprint.

He added: “The better they do, the more chance they have of generating jobs for local people, giving an economic boost to their community and continuing to provide significant value to customers.”

Despite these challenges, seven in ten small business owners admitted they don’t have a marketing plan in place for 2020, with nearly half saying “everything is going fine as it is”. A quarter would rather just “see what happens”.

Almost half believe the most important advertising channel in the upcoming 12 months will simply be word of mouth, while a quarter will rely on social media.

A further one in ten think email marketing and search engine optimisation will be most important for their business.

It also emerged that on reflection, nine in ten business owners are pleased they took the plunge and started their own business.

For more than a third being their own boss was the main motivation for starting a company. This was followed by flexibility – with 14% wanting to decide their own hours – and job satisfaction according to one in ten.