One in three small business decision makers predicts modest organic growth over the next six months, whilst 16% think their business will either contract or struggle to survive, according to new elephant communications research.
The poll of 529 small business decision makers, conducted by YouGov, found that more than two in five businesses predicted no significant change for the next six months. The findings are from elephant’s ‘Small Business Outlook’ – a half-yearly study, which explores the relationship between perceptions on growth, confidence and communications activity in the small business community.
The new figures indicate little change in business outlook from six months ago, although there is a less positive outlook in construction and manufacturing where there has been a slight rise in the proportion of small business owners fearing their business will struggle to survive over the next six months (18% and 12% respectively).
Despite the tough economic climate, the survey also suggested that around seven in 10 small businesses had taken steps since May 2012 to generate growth: 39% said they had updated their website, 21% had hired new people, 20% have been more proactive at business networking clubs and 19% said they had offered discount price promotions.
Set against this, only 13% of small businesses said they had invested in a PR campaign to raise their profile in the media and 18% had invested in advertising.
Guy Bellamy, Managing Director at elephant commented: “Small businesses are the backbone to the economy and our research this year has suggested that a large proportion of small firms do not make full use of cost-effective PR work to raise the profile of their ventures. Some think it would cost too much, some don’t know where to start. In truth, it is often one of the cheapest ways a small firm can promote itself. During the course of 2012, we have run a number of free PR advice days for small businesses as part of our community investment programme, giving small business owners ideas on how they can do simple things themselves at little or no cost to raise the profile of their business to support growth.”