Many firms now rely on cheap courier companies to deliver their products to customers. Increasingly, consumers are purchasing items remotely over the internet as this is a convenient and often inexpensive way to stock up on goods. Couriers are then used to transport the items from factories, warehouses, shops and other premises to people’s doors. It seems as though demand for cheap courier services may be especially high among small companies at present. According to a Small Business Index produced by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), confidence among these enterprises rose to its highest level in three years during the second quarter of 2013. The index reached 15.9 points during the three-month period, which was 9.6 points higher than the previous quarter and was the second highest reading since the Index began back in 2010. Small manufacturers, who often rely on cheap courier companies to despatch their products, were among those feeling upbeat. These organisations were optimistic about their prospects, suggesting that conditions within the sector are improving. The FSB also found that more firms expect turnover to increase during the current financial quarter and more companies expect to grow in the coming year. Meanwhile, a larger number of businesses anticipate that they will increase staffing levels during the third quarter of 2013. The FSB suggested this could be helped by the Enterprise Allowance announcement that was made during the Budget and is due to come into force next year. In addition, it was revealed that more small firms reported rising exports and export growth is expected to pick up further still this quarter. However, it is not an entirely positive picture. The study also found that inflationary pressures from rising energy costs are causing business costs to go up. FSB national chairman John Allan said: “After five consecutive quarters of year-on-year growth, confidence is moving in the right direction. Small firms want to employ more people and grow their business. They want to export and expect turnover levels to increase. This is all good news, but we must not be complacent.” He added: “We know inflation is likely to remain high for the coming 12 months, largely due to rising energy costs. This is why reform of the sector is so important and why it must provide transparency for small firms to choose the best tariff for them.” Despite the fact that small companies are feeling positive, economic conditions remain challenging and so it is vital that bosses ensure they run their organisations as efficiently and effectively as possible. Even seemingly small financial savings can mount up over the long term, helping to provide enterprises with a competitive edge. It is no surprise therefore that many managers are keen to take advantage of cheap courier services. Minimising their expenses when it comes to getting items from A to B can help bosses to balance their books. Many business owners now look for the best delivery providers online. This approach is simple and quick, and it also enables managers to benefit from impressive levels of choice.