The sentiment of small business owners right now, and the techniques some are adopting to foster growth as we enter the new year.

While long-term confidence among small and medium-sized business owners remains shaky, their short-term outlook is brighter, with many planning to broaden their ventures and invest in growth strategies.

In a recent poll on their future outlook, 43% of small business owners and decision-makers expressed confidence about the next 12 months. This marks an increase from 39% in March and is nearly aligned with the 44% seen during the latter half of 2022.*

The picture is much more rosy than the second half of 2020, with a mere 23% of owners optimistic about the upcoming year that September.

Looking further down the line, long-term confidence has remained relatively consistent. Right now, just 35% of business owners are hopeful about their business’s trajectory over a span of five years, slipping from 39% in June and 38% from a year ago.

However, sentiment varies based on business size and sector. Larger enterprises displayed greater optimism for the coming 12 months. A modest 36% of small businesses with turnovers below $100,000 showed high confidence. This contrasts with 48% of businesses generating between $100,000 and $2.5 million, and 46% of entities surpassing the $2.5 million mark.

Businesses rooted in secondary industries were most optimistic about the upcoming year, with 49% of owners highly confident about the future, while those in consumer services and transport-dependent domains lagged in confidence (with 39% and 37% feeling highly confident respectively).

With an eye on a brighter horizon in the forthcoming year, small and medium businesses are gearing up for growth-driven investment: 43% aim to boost their revenue, 39% are set on refining efficiency, and 35% plan to bolster their savings.