More than two thirds (68%) of small business owners have put plans in place to grow their business over the next three months, despite widespread concerns about the impact of Brexit, according to Hitachi Capital Business Finance.
It comes despite 59% admitted they're concerned they will struggle to survive in an uncertain year.
The survey suggests a tenacity and determination among the UK's small business community to keep calm and carry on, even through an unprecedented period of political and economic change for the country.
Hitachi said it is the UK's youngest small businesses that are most likely to have a 'can do' attitude and are putting growth plans in place for the next three months. Nearly 90% of business owners under the age of 35 have put plans in place, compared with 55% of those aged 55 or over.
The biggest issue for small businesses was controlling fixed costs. During a period of rising rents, business rate hikes and a weak pound, 41% of respondents said cost control was a top priority to help their business grow in uncertain times. As the perceived importance of cost control hits a five-year high, a further 18% said they intend to tackle late payment, concern over which is at its highest level since the start of 2017.
Improving cash flow also hit a five-year high as a priority for small businesses to tackle (22%). The perceived need to tackle cash flow was most prevalent in the manufacturing (40%), distribution (38%), real estate (38%) and retail (33%) industries. It was also a bigger issue among larger SMEs with a turnover of £10 million or more.
Expanding into new overseas markets (16%), hiring more staff (15%) and investing in new equipment (12%) were all popular initiatives to secure growth, although each of these saw a slight dip compared with 2018.
Gavin Wraith-Carter, managing director at Hitachi Capital Business Finance, said: “We are all living with political and economic uncertainty at the moment - and getting used to living with it will become the new norm for most businesses in 2019. It is heartening to see so many small businesses going towards uncertainty and seeing it as a time to improve their business, get it in better shape and achieve growth. For smaller businesses that can adapt faster and move quicker, 2019 could be a year of great opportunity."