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With a global economy that’s deflated and negative news headlines here at home every day, it’s easy to think business, including small business, is hurting everywhere. That may not be the case, at least for Scotland anyways. Small businesses in Scotland are more confident about their prospects for the immediate future according to research released by the Federation for Small Businesses (FSB). Among their most important findings were that more small Scottish firms were likely to invest than they were during the same period 12 months ago.
Along with Confidence, Fuel Costs are Up
Confidence in the last quarter of 2012 was up compared to the previous two years, but the news came with more than a pinch of salt. Many of the businesses who spoke to the FSB said that it was becoming more expensive to run a business, partly because of rising utility and fuel costs.
The cost of both gas and electricity has risen sharply of late, with many energy firms announcing significant price hikes. Smaller companies tend to struggle more than most with rising energy prices, forcing them to look at ways of bringing down the cost of that particular overhead.
Comparing Energy Costs for Small Businesses
A growing number of small firms in Scotland and beyond are looking at switching from their existing energy supplier to an alternative provider offering a cheaper deal. They do this by going online to compare business gas & electricity with Make It Cheaper as it doesn’t take a lot of time, and more seem to be exploring this option.
The FSB ‘s Scottish convener said that utility and fuel costs were prohibitive for many small firms, and said that firm action should be taken on driving the price of both down. He also said that businesses hit hardest by high utility costs had to work harder than ever just to break even.
On a more positive note, the FSB claim that increasing confidence could be interpreted as a sign that more small firms were willing to invest some of their money into a variety of areas such as technology and expansion overseas.
Small Businesses Could Go Global
They stated that it could help to generate much-needed growth as more money would be moved around different firms, which in turn could boost confidence and fill order books, which is what the Scottish and UK economies need in order to thrive once again.
Another finding from the FSB was that confidence among small firms in Scotland was less than the average level for the UK as a whole. This suggests that doing business in Scotland is harder than elsewhere, as it has been hit harder than other parts of the country by austerity measures and falling consumer demand.
Photo courtesy of: Christa Richert