Number of SMEs reporting growth doubles in 2015

Almost nine in ten small businesses say they are growing this year, according to research by American Express.

Nearly nine in ten (88%) British small businesses are reporting growth in 2015, according to a report by American Express Small Business Services.

The American Express Small Business Barometer is based on a poll of 500 UK small businesses. It revealed that twice as many small businesses are reporting growth this year than in 2014 – when only 43% claimed to be growing.

The report also suggests that 75% of respondents are either hitting or surpassing their current growth targets. Additionally, business leaders polled reported that their turnover has grown by an average of 18% during the past 12 months.

The proportion of small businesses reporting significant growth (defined as 11% or more) has also risen from 13% in 2014 to 49% this year.

And the small business owners in the survey are optimistic that this positive trend will continue in the near future. Small businesses are looking to increase turnover by an average of 24% over the coming twelve months.

When asked what actions would most drive this increased turnover and growth, more than half (53%) said entering new markets. Using social media to develop customer relationships (52%) was the next most popular response.

When asked what the main barriers to growth could be in the near future, people cited increased competition (44%), rising business rates (36%) and challenges around raising finance (25%).

A quarter (26%) of businesses also reported that cash flow is a hurdle for growth.

Stacey Sterbenz from American Express Small Business Services said “the positive picture that our research has revealed is very encouraging”.

“Not just for the present time but also as an indicator for future economic growth,” she continued. “Of course, success is not a foregone conclusion – small business owners tell us that the challenges they face are many. 

“Our experience in providing financial management tools for small business owners not only helps to ease some of the day to day challenges that may distract them from growth but allows us to continue providing valuable support as these businesses seek to expand.”

Further reading: Lack of technical skills impacting future plans of eight in 10 UK businesses

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.

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