Almost half of legal businesses in Britain are expecting an upturn in business, tracking research from Hitachi Capital Business Finance has shown.
Small businesses’ growth forecasts have hit an 18-month high, the figures show, with the leaders of two out of every five small businesses (39%) predicting growth by 31 March.
By industry sector, this quarter sees a rise in growth outlook registered across the board in all but two sectors, with a significant upturn of growth projections in real estate (49%), IT and telecoms (49%), legal (47%), and media (46%).
Growth forecasts are down slightly in both retail, and hospitality and leisure, with a slight upwards bump in construction.
The new data suggests smaller businesses are more likely to see uncertainty as an opportunity. Seasonal businesses, which live with change and the need to adapt on a regular basis, are more likely to predict growth for the months ahead (40%).
Small firms that invest in their technology assets are more likely to foresee opportunities to adapt and grow (47%).
Regionally, small businesses in the east (43%) join London (47%) and the north-west (45%) of England as having the most businesses with a positive outlook for the months ahead.
Over the last 12 months, there has been a significant upturn in growth predictions in London (rising from 36% to 47%), the south-west (from 29% to 38%), and east (28% to 43%).
In contrast, small enterprises in Wales and Scotland were the least likely to predict growth.
Interestingly, older businesses (those that have been trading the longest) demonstrate the biggest surge in growth outlook, suggesting a willingness to adapt to change. The ‘confidence gap’ between younger and mature businesses shows clear signs of closing.
Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, says: “As the UK economy enters a new chapter, the latest findings from our quarterly tracking research suggest that UK small businesses are starting a new year, a new decade and a new economic era with a positive outlook.
“What is heartening is the diversity of this confidence, which spans regions, sectors and older businesses modernising.”