Small Firms Outlook 2015

Monday, 5 January 2015

- Strong Positive Outlook for Small Firms in 2015
- Investment in brand development, staff & IT are key priorities
- Reducing tax and improving access to finance and markets will safeguard strong growth
    The Small Firms Association has published its “Small Firms Outlook for 2015” survey report, which shows that 66% of businesses are growing, 28% are maintaining their business at stable levels, and just 6% state that they are still seeing a decline in business. 867 members responded to the survey out of a sample of 2500 SFA member companies.

    SFA Director, Patricia Callan, welcomed the results, stating that “we predict that 2015 will see strong growth remain in the economy in the order of 4-5% GDP growth. 2014 saw the initial green shoots from the cities, spread gradually throughout all regions and towns throughout the country. Broad-based regional economic growth must be a priority focus in 2015”.

    The survey respondents predict strong investment levels in their businesses in 2015 with 72% saying that they will invest in their business in the next 12-24 months, 20% are unsure, and just 8% do not plan further investment at present. Investment in brand development is the priority for 41% of respondents, with 26% planning to make investments in staff, 18% in IT, and 13% in improving their customer knowledge, with 2% planning further investment in machinery.

    “Small firms have now moved from survival mode, to focusing on how they can grow their market share. Brand development and marketing are key parts of this strategy and hiring and retaining the right people is already emerging a problem in many sectors, particularly in IT and high-tech sectors. Owner-managers are now focusing on upskilling themselves and their teams to gain competitive advantage”, commented Callan.

    The key factors in improving growth prospects identified by the respondents are having an ideal mix of technology/people and skills (24%), further reductions in taxation on employment & business (22%), more steady growth rate in the EU (22%), greater certainty among consumers (21%), and having the optimum amount of financial resources (20%).

    Patricia Callan, SFA Director stated “reductions in taxation and improving access to finance will remain as priority areas for small firms in 2015, and we need to see significant progress on both, in order to improve consumer confidence and really put the economy on a strong-footing to regain competitive advantage internationally.

    In conclusion, Callan noted that small firms believe that offering great customer service is crucial to their success with 29% ranking this as No.1, followed by employing the right people (25%), keeping pace with technology (20%), heeding the competition (19%) and keeping tight controls on costs (18%). “Small Firm owner-managers are concentrating on designing strategies for success and growth in business and employment terms in 2015, but need the Government to really put small businesses at the heart of economic policy-making and provide a pro-business economic environment to help them thrive.”


    Issued by:
    Patricia Callan, SFA Director at Tel: 087-6999345 or e-mail: , @sfa_irl