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Small firms feeling positive about growth prospects

The majority of small businesses across the UK are confident about their growth prospects in the coming years, according to two new reports.

The majority of small businesses across the UK are confident about their growth prospects in the coming years, according to two new reports.

Almost two-thirds of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SME) surveyed anticipated up to 40% business growth during the next two years.

Wesleyan Bank’s annual ‘SME Heroes or Zeros’ report quizzed over 500 small business owners and discovered that more than half have greater confidence regarding the prospects of growth for their companies than this time last year.

The survey also delved deeper into SME attitudes towards alternative finance to help accelerate business growth.

The entrepreneurs surveyed were found to be choosing alternative finance options rather than traditional methods such as high street banks and lenders.

Almost three-fifths (59%) of respondents said they had used alternative finance at least once, up from 30% in Wesleyan Bank’s 2016 report. Indeed, a quarter of small firms surveyed now depend solely on alternative finance, compared with 20% of small firms in 2016.

Entrepreneurs aged 45 and over were found to be three times more likely to have stuck with traditional lending methods, compared with just one-fifth of entrepreneurs aged 18-29.

Paul Slapa, Head of Direct Sales, Wesleyan Bank, believes this year’s SME Heroes or Zeros report shows that small firms are putting aside any recent economic uncertainty and accelerating their growth plans.

“The UK’s economic outlook is often clouded by negativity, but this research highlights that SMEs are performing strongly and have built solid foundations to prosper [in the years to come],” said Slapa.

“Unless there is a material impact on their business today, there is no reason why SMEs should put on hold their investment plans to sustain and maximise growth.”

Another recent report from foreign exchange specialists, WorldFirst found that SMEs are increasingly confident about their international trading prospects too.

Their company’s tenth Global Trade Barometer says that almost a third (29%) of small firms anticipate their overseas revenue growing in the next quarter. Meanwhile 27% of small businesses are planning to export their goods or services to new countries in the next three months.

Jeremy Thomson-Cook, Chief Economist, WorldFirst, said: “UK SMEs continued to go global to the tune of over £84 billion each month in Q2 of 2018.”

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