Small businesses feel that the lack of time will be the biggest obstacle to growth in 2014, a survey has revealed.

According to a Forum of Private Business (FPB) survey, 36% of respondents felt that ‘time’ would be the biggest obstacle to business growth in 2014 and that the time spent on regulations would prevent them from realising their plans. Just over a quarter (26%) cited cash as a barrier to business growth.

FPB head of policy Alexander Jackman urged the government to act to address these concerns. “That time is now the biggest barrier for businesses growth potential in 2014 sends a clear message to government,” he said. “Now is the time to build on the success of deregulation measures introduced and to really push on minimising the impact of some of the big employment law reforms currently in progress. A focus on creating stability of regulation for small businesses would be enormously helpful.”

Despite these obstacles, the research revealed that 85% of respondents were positive about the year ahead and were intending to develop their business over the next 12 months.

Of those surveyed, 30% expected to increase their workforce and 15% planned to increase the hours of their workforce. Developing customer base was seen as a priority for businesses with 42% looking to focus on improving customer service.

Jackman added: “GDP figures are positive, employment is up and confidence among FPB members has lifted accordingly. With one in three looking to employ and one in 10 looking to increase hours, small businesses are showing a positive, though restrained, outlook for 2014.”