Business optimism remains surprisingly high according to the Witney based STL Communications annual B2B survey of customers from a cross section of all industry sectors with 81% of surveyed businesses expecting turnover in this current financial year to be the same or more than in the financial year ending March 2020.
Just over one third (34%) of businesses returned to the normal place of work in the period Oct – Dec 2020 and 82% of businesses were continuing to trade as normal despite the challenging business environment.
Almost a quarter (24%) of businesses surveyed had taken advantage of Rishi Sunak’s Furlough scheme and, perhaps not surprisingly, market demand and cashflow remained the two biggest concerns for businesses moving forward.
82% of businesses continuing to trade
81% expect turnover to be the same or increase
34% working in normal place of work in Q3
24% used furlough scheme
50:50 split on remote working vs office planned for Q4
In terms of contingency planning, it’s not surprising that working from home remains top of the list for surveyed businesses and this is substantiated by STL Managing Director Paul Ballinger who said, ‘Business agility remains top of the agenda and most, if not all, of our customers are talking to us about flexible working and the associated enabling tools such as connectivity and collaboration software.’ Ballinger went on to say, ’At STL our own business growth is being driven by these customer demands and my own recent customer experiences are aligned with the findings of the survey.’
Architect and Author of this year’s survey, STL’s Nina Lees commented, ‘The STL survey is extensive and expansive and the resulting data is as up to date as it possibly can be because the survey answers were collated just before Christmas. I would encourage anyone wanting to participate in future STL surveys to drop me a quick line and we’ll add you to the list of Surveyees. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
So there you have it, 2020 was a year like no other for the region’s businesses and yet there remains plenty of cautious optimism for the year ahead as the full survey below shows.