New figures released today from the Federation of Small Businesses (FBS) reveal a three-year high in confidence among Scotland’s small businesses. Despite being lower than the UK average, the research clearly suggests that confidence has been steadily rising for the past four quarters, suggesting a hopeful future for small businesses in Scotland.
A balancing act
With 40% of businesses reporting an increase in revenues, 25% are also facing rising overheads, resulting in 31% of those surveyed seeing an increase in company profits, and 34% saw a fall. Nevertheless, many firms remain optimistic with 3 in 10 businesses predicting a rise in profits over the next quarter.
The FSB’s Scottish Policy Convener, Andy Willox, suggests that capital investment is key for small businesses to achieve sustainable growth, and highlights the importance of offering advice and business support that’s easy to access and understands small firms’ needs.
Fairer business rates on the horizon?
The Scottish business rates system continues to cause concern for Willox, who believes that small enterprises remain penalised by the outdated property-based taxation, despite a new action plan recently announced by the Scottish government which will give local authorities the power to set business rates and reliefs in response to local needs.
Perhaps this will go some way to ridding Scotland’s high streets of their many vacant shops. Or perhaps local councils will continue to let these premises gather dust, instead of reducing the rates to a realistic figure that would result in a win-win situation for everyone involved. It’s always best to avoid scepticism, but when we look at past examples of council-led decisions it can be difficult to remain optimistic of a sensible outcome.
A solution to unaffordable rates
Where the nature of business allows, a number of small companies and start-ups are now opting to trade from home rather than rented premises. If this is something you are considering, it is possible to create a professional presence even when you work from the kitchen table. A virtual office service could provide your company with all of the advantages of a physical business presence, and there’s no need to jeopardise your profits in the process. Take a look at the range of services available from Blue Square Offices and see how you and your business could benefit from a virtual office.