83% of small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK believe that next year will be just as prosperous or even better than 2011, according to the second annual survey of SMEs predications for the year ahead from Orange. This is up from 76% in last year’s survey. The survey also highlighted that 79% of SMEs believe their businesses performed better in 2011 than expected.
Despite this optimistic outlook, the economic turbulence of the last three years has not gone unnoticed, with austerity still the focus for many of the businesses questioned. The survey revealed that 70% of SMEs do not plan to hire more staff in 2012 than they did in 2011. Instead, SMEs see themselves reinvesting their profits directly into the business, with 89% planning to spend more on communication technology in 2012 than they did in 2011. This is up from 52% in last year’s survey. The way that companies are doing business is evolving and increasingly, they need to enable their employees to access the internet, office documents and mobile applications while on the move. Subsequently, communication technologies, such as smartphones, tablets and unified communications, are becoming increasingly important within the enterprise.
In addition, Orange’s survey also investigated SMEs attitudes towards the much anticipated London 2012 Olympics. Questioning SMEs from all areas of the UK, the survey revealed that nearly a fifth (19%) of companies believe that the London 2012 Olympics will benefit their business. In addition, 37% of SMEs planning on offering their staff the opportunity to work flexibly during the London 2012 Olympics, in order for them to enjoy the event.
Martin Stiven, vice president of business at Orange, said, “It is encouraging to see that despite a challenging climate, the UK’s SMEs are cautiously optimistic about the year ahead. While ‘austerity’ will no doubt continue to be a buzz word next year, it is vital that businesses don’t stop investing in their companies. Instead, they should be looking at utilising new technologies to empower employees, communicate more effectively with customers, and help future proof their businesses.”