The 15 best places for small business growth in 2018

The north of the country could be the best place to start or grow your business in 2018, according to new research.

The study, from small business payment specialist Square, looked at confidence among small business owners, along with the available support, market growth, and potential new business owners.

Five of the top 15 cities for business growth are in the north

In fourth, fifth, seventh, 13th, and 14th place respectively, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds show that the north of the country may be the best place for small businesses to set their sights in 2018.

And if you thought the capital might have pipped them to the post, you’d be wrong. Belfast took first place, while Cardiff came in third.

Positive outlook for Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland

Belfast seems like the city to watch in 2018, with 41 per cent of respondents forecasting growth in the coming year, and 73 per cent describing themselves as confident in their business environment.

Meanwhile, Cardiff also made the top three, as two Scottish cities – Edinburgh and Glasgow – have also been listed.

The best cities for starting out

Not to be entirely out-done, London topped the list for most members of the general public looking to start their own business in the next five years – though as many small business owners know, thinking about starting a business and actually doing it are two very different things.

Edinburgh and Leeds came in second and third for entrepreneurship, at 15 and 14 per cent to London’s 18 per cent.

The top 15 places to run a business in 2018

Square looked across the data it gathered from the survey to create its ranking of cities with the best potential for small business growth.

Here are the top 15:

1 Belfast
2 Nottingham
3 Cardiff
4 Newcastle
5 Sheffield
6 Edinburgh
7 Liverpool
8 Norwich
9 Southampton
10 London
11 Bristol
12 Birmingham
13 Manchester
14 Glasgow
15 Leeds

Cashless payments impact market growth

According to a previous study by Square, the majority of British shoppers prefer to pay by card, yet over three million UK small businesses don’t accept card payments.

With small businesses often having to compete against larger, chain companies, moving towards card payment may be one way to boost growth. In Sheffield and Southampton, over two thirds of respondents said they would be more likely to shop locally if card payments were accepted.

UK cities with the best small business growth potential

How optimistic are you about your business growth in 2018? Let us know in the comments.

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