SME Business Owners Are Bullish About Their Future – Half Are Backing Exports To Double

Just when you think you have got a sense of the current state of start-up founders nerves, they confound your expectations again!

According to a global survey of SME business leaders conducted on behalf of Amercian Express, 58% see revenues increasing this year, and not just by a little, but “significantly”.

Make that 50% in the UK, who expect revenue growth to exceed by more than 4%, and 16% of these are uber-optimists, predicting revenue growth of at least 8%.

Nobody is overly concerned about the global economy disappointing either – SME decision makers are “more than twice as likely to be positive than negative about the economic climate (39 percent positive versus 16 percent negative). And the same applies to British business decision makers and the domestic economy.

But it ain’t all peaches and cream, of course; economic uncertainty in the home market worries UK SME’s more than anything else, with domestic political uncertainty running it close – nearly one third of SME owners are having sleepless nights about this.

There are high hopes in the UK around exports, however; the number of UK SMEs generating 50 percent of more of their revenues from exports will more than double, from 21 percent today to 44 percent over the next three years, according to decision makers.

Winning investment is still hard to do, founders believe. 57% say that they face a struggle to find the funding they need; 60 percent say that inadequate cash flow affects their ability to pay suppliers on time.

UK SMEs say they rely on either existing working capital (54%), bank loans (48%) and private equity (37%).

And this year founders intend to focus on profit margin growth (54%) and revenue growth (47%) more than any other business function.

Says Jose Carvalho, Senior Vice President, Global Commercial Payments Europe at American Express:

“It’s very encouraging to see this evidence of optimism and self-confidence among UK Small and Medium-sized enterprises.  Businesses are deftly navigating through challenges and this resilience is helping them to thrive.”

“However, it’s clear these enterprising businesses often find it difficult to access the finance they need to invest, and as a result they’re looking beyond traditional sources to secure funds to enable them to thrive and grow in the long term.”

The research was carried out by Oxford Economics; oh, and 79% of UK based founders say that “quickly responding to changing business demands was a major priority area.

The fast moving world of startups ‘eh – if you ain’t at full speed, you’re going backwards, it seems – how very red queen theory.

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