Small Firms Outlook 2018
Despite this returning optimism, wage demands, the increasing cost of doing business and Brexit dampen the mood. However, nearly 60% of SFA members say their businesses are growing, with only 4% declining. This shows that 2018 has the potential to be a strong year, if the risks are managed effectively at firm level and Government level. 71% of survey respondents indicated their intention to recruit over the coming year, up substantially from the SFA survey in May 2017.
The survey highlighted a number of risk factors for 2018, such as wage inflation, the ability to attract talent, legislative and regulatory burdens, increasing business costs as well as Brexit/Sterling exchange rate. Many of these require decisive measures at Government level and the SFA will work with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and other departments to ensure the appropriate actions are taken.
Full tax equalisation between the self-employed and employees will remain a priority in 2018, as will access to public contracts for small firms and cost competitiveness. In recent decades, Government has been successful in attracting FDI. However, the focus must now shift to small businesses and it is time to create a strategy for growth for small businesses with special focus on tax competitiveness and the cost of doing business, especially in light of Brexit.