Small businesses in Birmingham are weathering the financial storm to head into 2010 in better financial health than this time last year, according to new research.
Researchers for O2’s Small Business Confidence Index questioned nearly 500 small business owners in the city and more than a quarter said they are now financially stronger than a year ago, while 32 per cent said they were more confident.
Freezing pay and introducing unpaid holidays were identified as ways to help improve the financial health of businesses after 39 per cent of respondents revealed they had cut staff, compared to 1 in 100 businesses six months ago.
A total of 59 per cent said they were expecting these changes to see their businesses perform better 2010 in comparison to 2009, and 35 per cent predicted increased profits in the next three months.
Among the key concerns for small business owners next year included the impending VAT increase, an increase in interest rates and reluctance from the banks to change lending policies.
Simon Devonshire, head of small business marketing at O2, said: “The small business community in Birmingham has been quick to recognise and capitalise on the benefits of technology in 2009. While many investment plans have needed to take a back seat this year, the best small businesses are aware that cutting back on technology is simply not an option.”