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SME Leaders Bullish About Their Prospects As Majority Expect Revenues To Increase In Next 12 Months

Average volume of daily card transactions up 10% in growing businesses as consumer confidence improves, even amid cost-of-living crisis, according to Dojo

LONDON, United Kingdom: 16 August 2023: Business confidence is high among SME leaders in the UK, with three in five forecasting increases in revenue over the next 12 months, according to payment technology provider, Dojo.

Small businesses have been under unprecedented strain over the past few years, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing economic volatility creating persistent and cumulative challenges. Yet the majority of SMEs are looking ahead to the next 12 months with optimism, with two thirds (65%) confident about the outlook for the economy, a similar number (63%) assured about the end of the cost-of-living crisis and a further four in five (79%) confident about the outlook for their business.

The new figures are based on a survey of 500 UK decision-makers, supported by Dojo payments data based on spending across more than one in 10 UK high street SMEs.

This is further illustrated through Dojo spend data which reveals that on average, the number of card transactions per location is up by 10% between January and June compared to last year. Such an increase suggests that consumers are growing in confidence, even with high inflation and surging interest rates, along with businesses investing in improved payments infrastructure.

Three in five (60%) business leaders expect their revenues will increase in the next 12 months – by an average of 22% – while a quarter (24%) expect revenues to stay the same.

Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insight at Dojo, said: “Growing businesses on the high street have been forced to weather all manner of unpredictable storms over the last three or so years – so it’s a testament to them that so many are confident of delivering growth in the current economic climate. With the right strategic investments, SMEs will be best-placed to continue improving the experiences they deliver for customers, supporting continued growth.”

Independent restaurant Maki & Ramen grow against the grain

Indeed, Edinburgh-based Maki & Ramen launched four new locations in the last 12 months bringing it to 12 sites across Scotland and Northern England, with plans for four more in 2024, against the backdrop of economic uncertainty, supported by Dojo.

The business – which recorded £10m in revenue in 2022, representing 48% year-on-year growth – saved £40,000 borrowing from Dojo to fund its expansion, with new restaurants set to open in Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester.

Michael Salvador, COO at Maki & Ramen, said: “Having access to flexible funding means we can manage our cashflow which allows us to cover admin costs or relocate staff, whilst continuing to execute our expansion plans. Traditional borrowing options were completely unsuitable. With Dojo, repayments are linked to your revenues, so when you’re doing well, you can pay down the borrowing so quickly.”

Market challenges require strategic investment

While business leaders are optimistic about their prospects over the next year, they are also realistic about the challenges ahead, with hurdles cited including growing their revenue (43%), expanding to new geographies or opening new branches (36%) and broadening their product ranges (33%).

Many businesses recognise the importance of the right technology, payments and digital infrastructure to help ensure they navigate upcoming challenges and realise their potential.Two thirds (64%) admit they need to invest in better services to fulfil their business’ potential, with over half (53%) agreeing their current technology and digital infrastructure is hindering their business’ growth.

Over one in five (22%) leaders believe their payments infrastructure is “average”, citing it could be improved by delivering more reliable service (51%), better security of payments (45%) and better connectivity (38%). Over three in four (78%) leaders are confident in their ability to invest in the technology they need for their business in the next 12 months.

“In today’s cost-of-living crisis, going out costs more – and consumers rightly expect more for their increased spend. Businesses must therefore invest in the right technologies, from superfast payments to access to data and insights, to ensure their people are enabled to deliver the best possible value and experiences to meet this heightened expectation,” Knott added.