By Marcus Leach

The London Entrepreneurial Exchange (LEE), the voice of UK entrepreneurs, carried out its second quarterly Business Confidence Survey at its latest national event, attended by close to 400 founders and owners of businesses.

Results from the survey revealed that 8 out of 10 respondents are planning to hire over the coming six months — a third more than those saying that they would six months ago. This is despite most still not seeing signs of increased ease to borrow.

In terms of overall investment, spending on new employees is still around three times as important as spending on technology, which includes tablets, smartphones and communications. However, investment into technology still represents a significant spend with many firms spreading the cost across both technology and staff equally.

Highlights:

- 80% plan to hire over the coming 6 months
- Majority (66%) going for permanent hires
- Half of SMEs would have preferred a cut in business rates rather than corporation tax and higher rate income tax from the budget
- Spending on staff around three times more important than spending on technology
- Investment into technology still represents a significant spend

“Despite continuing concerns about a flat economy and rising unemployment, entrepreneurial small and medium sized British businesses are keen to expand and have shown a marked pick up in the desire to recruit," Shalini Khemka, CEO of the London Entrepreneurial Exchange, commented.

"While the budget did signal that Britain was open to overseas investment, more SMEs in Britain would have welcomed a cut in business rates — due to rise by 5.6% next month — than the announced extra 1% cut in corporation tax.

"Spending on staff will be the biggest cost for medium sized businesses in the coming year, however investing in technology is increasingly becoming one of the most important costs for those firms which are keen to ramp up their growth. Wealth generation will drive prosperity for the country as a whole and the small and medium sized business community is at the heart of that drive for growth.”

LEE member companies’ annual turnover ranges from £1m to more than £2 billion with the majority of firms producing turnover in the £1m to £100m range.

Join us on
Follow @freshbusiness