Turning ambition into growth

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The SME landscape is vibrant, in fact, over 99% of businesses in the UK are SMEs. They have a combined workforce of over 13 million (over 40% of the UK workforce) and they’re growing.

The Federation of Small Business’ (FSB) Voice Of Small Business Index revealed that in Q2 20152 a “record high number of firms (+31.9%) intended to increase capital investment in their businesses over the next 12 months” and that SMEs were seeing “record high profits”.

Our survey backs this up with more than seven in ten SMEs (71%) revealing that their revenues grew over the past 12 months.

And the journey for SMEs is far from over as they continue to harbour strong ambitions for the future. Over nine in ten (92%) would describe themselves as ‘ambitious’ and over one in three (36%) would go so far as to call themselves ‘very ambitious’.

The result is a thriving small business heartland that should create great confidence in the future of our nation’s economy. Over the next year, ambitious SMEs plan to both grow revenues (79%) and profitability (81%). And with four out of five businesses who describe themselves as very ambitious having achieved revenue growth over the past year (80%), who would bet against them?

Plus, as hard working and proud individuals, SME leaders want to do it themselves. Over four fifths of SME leaders (82%) have no intention of letting go of their business in the foreseeable future and are instead planning for growth under their continued control.This stands in stark contrast to common perceptions of the ‘dot com’ boom of the late 90s and early 00s where many SMEs sought to rapidly grow their company value before selling for a profit. Now, only around one in ten (11%) want to sell their business for a profit in the near future and fewer still (7%) are looking to grow via mergers or acquisitions.The number of SME leaders looking to merge or sell their businesses does rise to one in four amongst the most ambitious SMEs, but even in this category three quarters (74%) are ‘in it for the long-haul’. So SME leaders are keeping control.

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