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Business growth exceeds expectation for SME sector

GROWTH in business revenue has surpassed expectations for businesses operating in the SME sector, according to new research.

More than two thirds (67%) of small to medium sized firms say that their business revenue has grown in the past 12 months, but when surveyed a year ago, just 43% predicted growth in the same period.

The figures are drawn from the Close Brothers Business Barometer, an independent quarterly survey of SME owners and managers from a range of sectors across the UK.

Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “The Office for National Statistics states that the UK recovery is progressing faster than anticipated, and our figures seem to suggest that small and medium sized businesses are really benefitting from improved trading conditions.

“More than two fifths of the businesses we surveyed report up to 10% growth in revenue, while 49% cite a jump of between 10% to 20% in the last year,” he added.

The Close Brothers Business Barometer shows business confidence to be high, with almost three quarters of SMEs optimistic about their growth prospects for the year ahead.

The survey also reveals that as many as 58% of respondents plan to invest in their business in the next 12 months.

“It’s very important that these businesses plan ahead to ensure they can make the most of an increasingly prosperous economy,” stated Mr Randall.

“In particular, these firms must be proactive with their financial planning. The Business Barometer shows that 17% of those surveyed say that a lack of finance is currently holding them back from seizing new business opportunities.

“This is somewhat concerning as without the necessary working capital, growth will be very hard to achieve. It’s essential that businesses explore a broad range of funding options to ensure that they succeed in meeting their forecasts for next year,” he added.