Small firms are showing increasing optimism for next year as they seek to grow their businesses, a new study has shown.
Research by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) showed growing confidence across every region of the country.
A survey of more than 2,000 firms showed that a third were running at full capacity, while one in four expected to invest in 2014.
FSB chairman John Allan said: " Confidence has been in positive territory for a full year, giving economic growth solid foundations moving into 2014. Small firms are creating more jobs and investing in their business and there are encouraging results behind the headline figures, with promising trends evident across the main areas of expansion, investment and employment.
"Government must not be complacent - helpful initiatives were announced in the Autumn Statement, particularly on business rates.
"However a sustained recovery is perhaps some way off as the worldwide economy remains uncertain."