60% of small Scots firms ‘intend to grow in next year’

FSB Scotland Policy Chair Andrew McRae

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland has published the results of its Big Small Business Survey, which shows that 60% of businesses intend to grow in the next year.

FSB Scotland said micro, small and medium sized businesses comprise 99% of all enterprises in Scotland, employ 1.2 million people and contribute £110 billion to the economy.

The report is based on a Q1 2023 research survey of Scottish small businesses carried out via Smart Survey.

FSB Scotland received 602 responses to the survey, which was live between January 30 and March 10, 2023.

FSB’s Scotland Policy Chair Andrew McRae said: “This is the most comprehensive study we’ve ever undertaken into the state of Scotland’s small businesses, the challenges they face and the opportunities they see ahead.

“We heard from firms in every part of Scotland, representing every industry sector.

“Too often, decision makers fall into the trap of treating business as a monolith, making decisions that assume our smallest firms are operating on the same playing field as multinational corporations.

“What this study demonstrates is that, not only is there a distinction to be drawn between small businesses and their larger counterparts, but indeed there is a huge degree of diversity within the small business community itself …

“It was very important that to get a comprehensive understanding of not only current trading conditions, but what has led businesses to where they are now, as well as their future aspirations.

“It’s clear that smaller operators have had a tough few years, with a similar proportion of respondents reporting that 2022 posed as great a challenge yet as  the worst of the pandemic in 2020.

“What we can infer, though, is that things are looking up and the much-anticipated economic recovery could be on the horizon, with three in five businesses telling us they plan to grow over the next year …

“We hope this study will serve as a useful tool for anyone needing to design and implement policies that touch the lives of small business owners.

“In recent years we’ve seen what can go wrong when decisionmakers don’t understand the challenges faced by our smallest operators, and we hope that the findings of the Big Small Business Survey can be an important part of resetting the relationship between government and business.”