Our latest Business Barometer survey clearly indicates that small businesses are looking to keep their financial house in order and to get in shape for the coming months, with a big rise in the proportion planning to keep costs down (61%) up from 39% at the start of 2020.
Improving cash-flow jumped from 22% to 32% in six months as a top priority - as did a resolution to get much stricter on late payments – up from 18% to 27%.
Reviewing borrowing commitments has doubled in importance since lockdown up from 11% to 21% in just six months. The review of financial commitments correlated with 15% of business owners saying they needed to invest in new equipment.
Interestingly, sectors where small businesses were most likely to perceive barriers to growth last quarter - hospitality and leisure (96%), manufacturing (94%) and retail (91%) now emerge as the sectors where small businesses are working the hardest to bounce back.
Not only are these sectors regaining their confidence from last quarter – they also view their financial agility as a bedrock from which to secure growth.
The top three growth plans for hospitality and leisure:
Keeping fixed costs down (75%)
Reassessing finance commitments (46%)
Improving cash flow (41%).
The top three growth plans for retail:
Keeping fixed costs down (63%)
Improving cash flow (38%)
Reassessing finance commitments (21%)
The top three growth plans for manufacturing:
Keeping fixed costs down (62%)
Being stricter on getting paid on time (30%)
Investing in new equipment (28%)
(The research was conducted by YouGov among a representative sample of 1,266 small business decision makes in July 2020 spanning industry sectors).