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Average SME turnover could grow by £2.4m in 2020

Optimism levels among the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector appear strong with small business owners anticipating average turnover increases of £2.4m by 2020.

That’s according to the 2015 Business Growth survey by Santander, with SMEs prioritising organic growth and staff retention in the coming months and years.

The high levels of business optimism among small firms are in fact higher than their medium-sized counterparts, with small businesses anticipating average revenue growth of 69 per cent over the next five years as opposed to 25 per cent for medium-sized firms.

In order to achieve these levels of growth, more than half (52 per cent) of SME owners are focusing on organic growth, while around a third (31 per cent) are viewing talent retention as a key short term priority, followed by business survival (30 per cent).

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of ambitious firms said they would be honing new products to introduce to the marketplace, while almost a fifth (18 per cent) said they would be taking on new staff – six per cent higher than the 12 per cent that said they would be expanding their workforce in 2014.

This newfound confidence among SMEs also extends overseas with almost a fifth (18 per cent) now regarding global expansion of their business as the “ultimate aim” – up from just six per cent in 2014.

Mike Reeves, joint managing director, SME Banking, Santander, said: “It’s extremely encouraging for UK plc that small and medium enterprises, the lifeblood of the economy, are predicting strong growth over the next five years.

“It is particularly promising that nearly a fifth are focused on international expansion, as exporting our products and services overseas is key to ensuring a stable, resilient economy.”

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