MORE than two fifths of small and medium sized businesses across the UK say that trading conditions are improving, with just over half (52%) saying that they will invest in their business during 2015.
Results of the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer also reveal that a third (34%) of businesses in the SME sector believe their business will expand over the course of this year.
Mike Randall, CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance said: “The UK economy has turned a corner, with the European Commission telling us that it is expected to grow by 2.4% over the course of this year.
“This is of course good news for businesses of all sizes, but particularly for smaller firms that have arguably struggled more than most to thrive over the past five years.
“Our survey results suggest that over half of SMEs are now feeling confident to make strategic decisions about growth.”
The survey, which canvasses the views of SME owners and senior management from a range of industry sectors, also shows that almost half (47%) of businesses are planning a recruitment drive this year, with just 4% stating that they will reduce headcount.
Almost four in 10 business owners polled said that they are actively seeking funding to support growth.
“The challenge now is to ensure that these ambitious small businesses can access the finance they need to achieve their growth and job creation targets.
“One of the biggest barriers to growth is accessing appropriate funding. It is essential that businesses are able to access the right type of finance at the right time for them and they can only do this if awareness of the full spectrum of financial options continues to rise.
“As an asset finance provider, we are glad to see a growing recognition from both the government and the business community for the role alternative finance is playing in supporting business growth,” added Mr Randall.