New strategies to support growth

This year staff training is the top priority for OMBs with 85% saying they are likely or certain to invest in staff training, but other forms of investment also underpin strategies for 2016.

Commitment to investment
Previous surveys have highlighted OMBs’ commitment to innovation and investment in their businesses, and this message comes through strongly again in this year’s results. Two-thirds (67%) of OMBs surveyed are likely or certain to invest in new technology or IT systems in 2016, while 66% are certain or likely to launch new products or services or diversify their businesses in some other way.

Over half (55%) expect to introduce new production techniques or undertake some other form of innovation in their business operations.

Interest in succession planning
Almost half (49%) of OMBs in this year’s survey say they are likely or certain to undertake succession planning in 2016. It may be no coincidence that 56% of the business owners are aged over 50 (including 17% aged 60 plus). Another third (33%) are aged 40 to 50.

Strategy and supply chain review
A change in business strategy is likely or certain for 40% of OMBs surveyed. This could mean a variety of things, but OMBs’ flexibility and ability to change course fast is a great strength.

Just under a third (30%) of OMBs are likely or certain to restructure their supply chain in 2016. This may be in order to negotiate better terms and reduce costs, but there can be good reasons for building stronger relationships with suppliers.

M&A options?
Around one in six OMBs (17%) are looking to complete a merger or acquisition in 2016. The good news is that 16% of OMBs are looking to sell. Many successful OMBs have grown their business through acquisitions in the past.

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Fig 1. Strategies OMBs are likely/certain to undertake in 2016