SMEs plan for growth in 2013 - Business Works
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SMEs plan for growth in 2013

Keith Alderson, MD Corporate Banking, The Co-operative Bank Recovery prospects for the new year have been given a much-needed shot in the arm after a study of SMEs found that nearly half expect growth in 2013.

With SMEs and entrepreneurs seen by many as key to the countrys economic revival, research from The Co-operative Bank has revealed that 44% believe their sales and orders will rise next year. The findings also show that one in four (26%) businesses anticipate growth in international orders.

And there was further good news for the UK economy with around quarter (23%) of senior decision makers saying they expect to invest in their company through, for example, new equipment or premises improvements. More than one in five (22%) said they plan to expand their workforce through new recruitment drives.

"SMEs and entrepreneurs are widely acknowledged as vital to Britains economic recovery, so these results are good news as we head in to 2013," said Keith Alderson, Managing Director of Corporate and Business Banking at The Co-operative Bank.

"As the curtain closes on another tough year, it seems many SMEs are now looking forward with a cautious sense of optimism about the challenges for their businesses next year."

"We see this entrepreneurial spirit day-in, day-out in our dealings with customers and Im not surprised that SMEs are adapting and exploring new markets to overcome the economic challenges."

Asked about the challenges facing their business in 2013, almost one in four (24%) surprisingly said they did not view the current economic climate as one of their main concerns.

While uncertainty in the economy was by far and away the biggest challenge with 76%, cashflow was regarded as the next main issue for 37% of SMEs, followed by red tape / regulation for 27%. A further 26% were most concerned about the impact of rising energy costs, while 16% cited support from banks as their main worry next year.

The study also found that 19% of business felt sales and orders would fall in 2013 although more than a third (35%) said they had suffered a decline in 2012. Some 14% also experienced a decline in international orders this year, but just one in ten (10%) felt that this would be the case in 2013.

Across the regions, SMEs in the South (excluding London) were most confident, with 49% believing that sales and orders would increase in 2013, compared to 39% of businesses surveyed in the North.

Of the industries surveyed, the financial services and accountancy sector (58%) and media / marketing / advertising (64%) companies are most confident about growth in 2013. However, the construction industry was the least positive with just 24% believing they would experience growth in the new year.

For more information, please visit: The Co-operative Bank - business banking

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