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GC Business Survey

Latest report: 4th December 2021

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Summary of key findings  

  • The latest findings from the GC Business Survey indicates that businesses continue to report high levels of confidence for the year ahead, despite a rise in the proportion reporting rising costs, and a significant fall in the proportion of firms reporting that they expect profits to increase in the year ahead.
  • 75% (80% previously) of firms report that they have cash reserves to last over 6 months, still one of the strongest positions recorded by the survey in the last 2 years.
  • 27% of firms in the last month reported that they experienced an increase in sales (up from 26%), and 56% of firms (down from 74%) expect profits to increase, whilst just 4% (up from 3%) expect profits to decrease.
  • 29% (40% previously) of firms are currently recruiting new staff, and 14% said they were unsure. 43% of firms said that their workforce skills are only ‘partly’ at the correct level to meet their business plan objectives for the year ahead. 
  • Many comments show a continued focus on labour and raw material shortages, rising prices and inflation pressures. This provides context for other key challenges faced by businesses including gaining access to new domestic markets (60%), developing new products and services (39%) and developing the business model and planning (37%).
  • 41% of firms expect capital expenditure to increase, 51% expect investment in workforce development, followed by digital transformation (50%) and innovation (46%) - showing the need to boost productivity of the workforce, systems and sales through investment in new platforms, innovation and digitalisation.
  • 75% (80% previously) of firms report that they have cash reserves to last over 6 months; and only 10% (14% previously) of firms said they had significant cashflow problems (25% same time last year). Sectors still more likely to report this risk are Hospitality, Tourism & Leisure and Construction.​
  • The main impacts facing businesses are decreased sales (29% vs 27% last month), both major and minor supply chain issues (41% vs 36%) and rising costs (20% vs 27% - note that input costs spiked last month, and the general trend for Q2-2021 is a steep rise).  Decreased sales was most likely to impact tourism, hospitality, leisure, cultural industries.
  • The main areas of future support for the year ahead identified by businesses include business planning (30%, 30% previously), marketing (26%, vs 24%), workforce development (24% vs 29%), innovation (23%, vs 21%). 50% of firms are looking to develop a plan to minimise their environmental impact (compared with 64% last month).

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The information provided is meant as a general guide only rather than advice or assurance. GC Business Growth Hub does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information and professional guidance should be sought on all aspects of business planning and responses to the coronavirus. Use of this guide and toolkit are entirely at the risk of the user. Any hyperlinks from this document are to external resources not connected to the GC Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is not responsible for the content within any hyperlinked site.