High growth SMEs show signs of leading the way out of recession

Leading independent invoice finance provider Bibby Financial Services found that during the second quarter of 2012 firms with a turnover of between £250k and £1m are reporting superior trading conditions to their larger counterparts.

In the £500k to £1m turnover bracket, nearly one in five companies say that business has never been better, compared to a UK average of just 6 per cent. Furthermore, only one per cent said conditions were tough and they were only just surviving, while the average for the study stood at 11 per cent.

And in the £250k to £500k bracket, over half of firms are seeing lapsed customers returning. As a result, almost half of these businesses are seeing a rise in orders, up from just 36 per cent in Q1 2012, and considerably higher than the average 23 per cent. Staff motivation is also on the rise among companies of this size, with 46 per cent reporting an improvement compared to just 26 per cent of businesses with a turnover in excess of £20 million.

History shows that following a recession, half of all new jobs are created among just six per cent of the nation’s businesses. And to support these high-growth firms, the Government has recently launched a Growth Accelerator programme whereby companies can apply for subsidised coaching to allow their businesses to reach their full potential.

SMEs are also demonstrating the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit that is vital to growth. The number of micro companies with five employees or less which are benefiting from networking via social media has doubled since the previous quarter. The number trading overseas for the first time has also doubled in the second quarter of 2012.

Edward Winterton, executive director at Bibby Financial Services, says: “It’s great to see signs of growth among smaller businesses. Now is certainly the time for ambitious owners of small businesses to take the bull by the horns and make the most out of opportunities which present themselves.

“Historically, high-growth SMEs have played a major part in leading the country out of recession and we are seeing the same thing happening again.

“Of course there is a great deal of hard work to be done before the nation’s economy is out of the woods but we would urge businesses on an upward trend to make the most of any opportunities that pass their way, be it exploring export markets utilising social media or recruiting the very best talent.

“It is also important the growth of any company isn’t restricted by a lack of funding and so we recommend business owners consider funding options that ensure a healthy cash flow is maintained as they come to manage larger order books and grow their businesses.

“As a leading independent invoice finance provider for almost 30 years, we support businesses of all sizes and across a wide variety of sectors, providing a funding solution that is flexible and reflects the changing needs of a business.”