Entrepreneurs in the North East are showing increased confidence as sales and profit grow, according to the latest research by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum.
More than 70% of entrepreneurs in the organisation’s Business Tracker Survey for the third quarter of 2013 said they had witnessed an increase in sales, compared with the same period in 2012. Around 72% likewise expected fourth quarter sales growth.
Profits and jobs were also on the rise, with 60% saying they had seen an increase in profits and 41% telling the survey they saw employee numbers increase when compared to 2012.
Additionally, the survey showed the highest level of optimism among respondents about the future of their businesses and the economy as a whole since the research began two years ago.
The Entrepreneurs’ Forum has, over the past ten years, developed a cross-sector peer group of like-minded individuals who share ideas, knowledge and connections.
The organisation continually takes soundings from its 480 member companies in the North East.
Among other key findings, 69% of respondents reported feeling more confident in their businesses and 67% said they had more confidence in the economy than they did three months ago.
A total of 39% said they had experienced a growth in export revenues compared to the same period in 2012.
However, some major challenges were highlighted, including the problems posed in finding quality staff and generating new sales leads.
Forum chairman Nigel Mills said: “Our members are reporting that confidence, sales, profits and jobs are all on the rise in their businesses.
“Entrepreneurial businesses clearly remain at the heart of growth in the North East economy. They are not only telling us that things are positive within their own businesses, they expect more of the same to follow.”
Moving forward this year, growing appropriate skills to fill vacancies would be a majority priority for many businesses, he added.