Small businesses in Wales have reported growth and investment in their teams during the pandemic, as well as a growth in profits, according to a new survey from Swansea-based telephony specialists, Uplands Communications.

Despite presenting businesses with some of the most challenging conditions in decades, the Uplands Communications Business Aspirations Survey reveals that 85.2 percent of small businesses polled have grown their teams during the pandemic by between one and five staff members, and 74.6 percent of businesses polled said that their revenue had grown by between one and ten percent. Businesses who completed the survey were from a range of retail, services, manufacturing, construction, professional services and logistics and haulage, with the majority (58.5 percent) employing between one and ten people.

Paul Hooper, Managing Director of Uplands Communications, said: “Our first business survey of the year helps us to assess the business landscape in our core business areas of Wales, the South West, the Midlands and throughout the UK. These results are pleasing, but not surprising to me. Most of the respondents are single-concern businesses or firms with between one and four facilities, and as a major supplier of telephony and communications packages we have seen, through the pandemic, the agility, responsiveness, and the doggedness of our clients in making sure they continue to serve their clients and customers well, and in making sure they can continue to offer valuable employment in their region.”

Paul adds: “Our findings also show that Welsh business that have pivoted their operations during the pandemic intend to keep, at least partially, those changes in place. This suggest to me that smalls businesses have been savvy in streamlining their operations and finding efficiencies that help them to serve their business objectives – and this is an approach that, again, is borne out by what we hear from our clients in our regular contact with them. Of course, having the right telephony package in place has been a key factor in allowing businesses to pivot smoothly to home or hybrid working and has allowed Uplands Communications clients to operate seamlessly throughout. Many customers in Wales are coming to us now to prepare for the imminent ISDN and PSTN switch-off, which is another big challenge on the horizon for businesses in all sectors, and we have found that SMEs are, again, being particularly smart in preparing for the 2025 switch-off now, so they don’t face business disruption.”

A note of caution is sounded by the respondent to the Upland Communications survey, with 65.1 respondents saying the spectre of rising costs is the biggest challenge they expect to face this year, with 17 percent saying recruitment and retention is expected to be a challenge, too.

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