SMEs confident about growth prospects

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are predicting strong growth in turnover during the next 5 years, according to a survey by Santander.

The survey of 500 business owners found that SMEs with annual turnover of up to £20 million are forecasting turnover to increase by 33%.

The research indicates that SMEs are positive about their future prospects:

  • 20% of business owners said their business had never been healthier, up from 13% in 2013
  • 17% are prioritising acquisitions to boost growth
  • 12% want to hire new staff
  • a quarter plan to grow their business to a regional level.

However, business owners reported facing challenges in a number of areas:

  • 47% said tough trading conditions were the biggest obstacle to growth
  • a quarter said that accessing finance was a challenge
  • 18% were concerned about hiring and retaining staff.

Marcelino Castrillo, managing director of SME banking at Santander, said:

"It's extremely encouraging for UK plc that business confidence in the UK is at its highest level for three years, with businesses focused on growth both at home and overseas. While business owners report that trading conditions remain challenging, a fifth believe that their business has never been in better shape. The outlook for staff retention and new job creation is also positive, which is welcome news for the wider UK economy."

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