New research from Lloyds Bank has found that almost half (46%) of firms in the South East are making New Year’s resolutions to improve their productivity as businesses signal confidence in more positive macroeconomic conditions ahead.
This optimism about the future comes after 2023 being a tough year for firms as they faced high inflation and a sluggish economy.
The data revealed the top three areas where businesses are focusing their attention as they head into the new year, with two fifths (38%) concentrating on developing their business, more than a quarter (29%) focusing on staff training, and another quarter (26%) exploring new technology.
As firms take stock of 2023, many are reporting they are looking at ways to ensure they have a healthy cashflow, with almost a third (32%) reporting plans to keep a closer eye on costs over the next 12 months.
The data also shows that businesses are setting themselves up for growth by building teams to support new opportunities, with two fifths (40%) expecting to hire more staff in the New Year.
With the expectation of inflation continuing to fall, two thirds (66%) of firms are confident that they will see their business become more profitable in 2024 compared to 2023.
Almost two thirds (64%) expect their turnover to increase in 2024. Of those expecting an increase in turnover, a quarter (25%) anticipate growth of 5%-10% and almost one in 10 (9%) have eyes on growth of 11%-20%.
Becci Wicks, regional director for the South East at Lloyds Bank, said: “It’s encouraging to see that the majority of firms in the South East are confident they’ll boost turnover and become more profitable in 2024.
“While this year has had its challenges, the recent fall in inflation and stabilisation of interest rates are helping to improve the economic outlook and create an environment conducive to boosting productivity and growth.
“Firms that are taking the time to implement plans and carefully manage their cashflow will ensure they are ready to benefit from new opportunities and to tackle any headwinds they may have to navigate.
“Hopefully the New Year will see demand for services level improve further to create more opportunities for businesses in the region to grow next year.”