Half of small and medium-sized businesses are worried that tough legislation will hamper their ability to grow in the next 12 months.
In general, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are confident about their business and the economy, finds a study by npower of more than 1,000 respondents.
Some 50 per cent of those surveyed expect to see an increase in business turnover during the next 12 months.
However the research did reveal fears over the amount of red tape and taxes imposed upon SMEs as well as concerns over the availability of credit and skills.
While SME headcount is expected to increase (21 per cent stated this), 33 per cent of decision-makers believe that a skills shortage may restrict future business growth over the next 12 months.
Other barriers to future growth include lack of bank lending, cited by 47 per cent.
The research highlights that while companies are considering the short-term success of their business, the long-term succession plan is becoming a thing of the past, with 71 per cent of those surveyed saying their businesses have no succession plan in place.
Jason Scagell, director of npower Business says, ‘While we’ve seen a clear acknowledgement of the contribution that SMEs make to UK plc in the recent Autumn Statement as well as through initiatives like Small Business Saturday, this study highlights that there is still some way to go before SMEs can honestly say that they are performing at the level they would like.
‘These businesses are often described as the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s obviously vital that they get the support they need to develop and grow.’
Chris Simmons, owner of Chase Golf Club says, ‘We work hard to ensure that we are continually planning for the future. Whilst the UK is out of recession, as an SME owner there are many areas where we are still feeling the pinch – from tax to staff salaries.
‘As we approach 2015, I believe it will be the job of both the government and larger businesses to ensure that they are doing all they can to support businesses like mine in the UK, by taking steps to reduce the barriers to growth such as red tape and lack of bank lending.’