Owners of small and medium sized businesses are more confident about their prospects in the year ahead but say they're worried they lack the skills to fulfil their potential.
That's according to BNZ's latest nationwide SME survey which found that 70 per cent of businesses in this category are looking to pursue growth now or in the year ahead.
The survey showed SME business owners were hands on, with only 5 per cent employing managers, and rated their overall skills as 6.5 out of 10. Three in five said they were working harder than a year ago
However marketing, finance and money management were still major challenges they needed to overcome to achieve this growth.
"While businesses are growing or looking to grow, many are not confident that they have the marketing and finance skills in-house to sustain growth over the long-term," said Andy Symons, head of retail banking at BNZ.
He said business owners were increasingly looking to build these skills either through new appointments or upskilling existing staff.
The survey found a quarter of respondents were considering new staff appointments in the next 12 months, and businesses in Christchurch were even more bullish with one in three planning to increase staff numbers.
They were also looking to upskill existing employees.
Small businesses report they are more likely to consider training their marketing and finance staff, while owners of medium-sized businesses were focusing on people management skills.