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Many organisations understand the value of having the necessary technology, payments and digital infrastructure in place to help them overcome forthcoming difficulties. Paul ELLIS/AFP

In the business domain, optimism shines a light amid the daunting shadows cast by the COVID-19 pandemic, the persistent cost of living crisis and unyielding economic challenges.

According to Dojo, a Payment Technology Supplier, business confidence seems high among UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) leaders, with three out of five anticipating revenue growth over the next 12 months.

Despite the chronic and cumulative hurdles that have besieged small businesses in recent times, a majority remain resolute in the positive outlook for the forthcoming 12 months. A reported 65 per cent expressed confidence in the economic trajectory, mirroring the sentiment regarding the end of the cost of living crisis, shared by 63 per cent of SMEs. Moreover, an impressive four in five (79%) harbour robust confidence in the future of their own business endeavours.

The new findings are based on a poll of 500 UK decision-makers and Dojo payments data from more than one in every ten UK main street SMEs. This is supported by Dojo expenditure data, which shows that the average number of card transactions per location increased by 10 per cent between January and June compared to the same period last year.

This upswing not only signifies burgeoning consumer confidence, defying the backdrop of inflation and escalating interest rates but also underscores businesses' commitment to enhancing their payment infrastructure.

Furthermore, the report indicated that three in five (60%) business leaders harbour expectations that their revenues will rise by an average of 22 per cent in the next 12 months, while a quarter (24%) expect revenues to remain flat.

Jon Knott, the Head of Customer Insight at Dojo, aptly noted that the perseverance exhibited by growing high street businesses over the tumultuous past few years is commendable, culminating in their current buoyant growth outlook amidst the prevailing economic challenges. He emphasised that strategic investments will play a pivotal role in empowering SMEs to further enrich customer experiences, thereby fostering sustained growth.

While the horizon seems promising, SME leaders remain grounded in reality, acknowledging the terrain ahead and the challenges it presents. As they look forward, the obstacles they envisage include augmenting revenues (43%), expanding geographically or establishing new branches (36%) and diversifying their product lines (33%).

Many organisations understand the value of having the necessary technology, payments and digital infrastructure in place to help them overcome forthcoming difficulties and realise their full potential. According to the research, two-thirds (64%) say they need to invest in better services to realise their company's full potential, with more than half (53%) believing their current technology and digital infrastructure is impeding their growth.

Unveiling a vital aspect of their operations, over one-fifth (22%) of executives say their payments infrastructure is "average", and that it might be improved by providing more reliable service (51%), improving payment security (45%) and improving connection (38%).

Furthermore, three-quarters of CEOs (78%) feel confident in their capacity to invest in the technology their businesses require during the next 12 months.

Against the backdrop of escalating living costs, consumer expectations rise in tandem. To meet this augmented demand, businesses are urged to embrace an array of essential technologies, encompassing swift payments, robust data insights and enhanced customer experiences.

Knott explained this imperative, pointing out that businesses must invest in the technological arsenal necessary to cater to these elevated expectations, ensuring that their offerings resonate with the discerning clientele of today.