London SMEs are confident about 2014 growth, rest of UK less so

While 62 per cent of SMEs in London are confident about growth opportunities for their businesses over the next 12 months, outside of the capital, business owner are less optimistic.

While 45 per cent of total SMEs in Britain think 2014 will bring growth to their business, only 18 per cent of those surveyed by accountants Baker Tilly said they plan to take on new staff next year. Twenty-three per cent plan to increase their sales and marketing spend, and just 16 per cent will up their R&D spend.

Those that are optimistic about 2014 ? almost half ? expect to increase turnover by 5 per cent or more in the next 12 months, says the Baker Tilly Your Business Outlook survey, which polled 750 SMEs across the country.

“Despite the fact that over the last few years SMEs have faced extremely challenging market conditions, there is real optimism emerging around their prospects for growth,” says Neil Sevitt, partner at Baker Tilly.

“However it is difficult to envisage where this growth will come from, with the majority of these businesses remaining cautious about investing in the resources and activities to deliver growth. There should be more emphasis on research and development and more time dedicated to exploring international opportunities to help make their growth plans a reality.

“There is real concern that if SMEs do not take a long-term view and ignore opportunities for investment and expansion, economic recovery will remain hesitant and uneven.”

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