More than one quarter of SMEs predict double digit growth this year

The Pannone survey of 300 small and medium-sized companies found that 53.3 per cent anticipate growth of between one and 10 per cent, while 28.1 per cent are expecting to grow their business by more than 10 per cent in 2013. However, around 19 per cent are expecting no growth at all.

For those expecting growth, 84.7 per cent said it will be in domestic markets, while almost a quarter believe that their growth lies in international markets outside Europe. Only 17.8 per cent expect growth from European markets.

Almost two thirds of SMEs (65.9 per cent) said they would fund the growth with their own capital.

The optimistic outlook was in spite of the fact that 40 per cent of the companies surveyed – the majority of which were owner-managed businesses – reported no growth at all in 2012.

Lisa Conmy, Head of SME Business Services at law firm Pannone, said: “It is encouraging to see such optimism amongst UK SMEs whose passion for enterprise is seeing them look for new opportunities and pushing for growth despite the challenges.”

Elsewhere, the survey revealed that the age old problems of lack of access to funding and red tape were still hampering the growth aspirations of SMEs, while 87.8 per cent believed the Government is not doing enough to support UK enterprise.

Two-thirds called upon the government to improve access to finance, cut red tape and reduce tax thresholds. A number also urged the government to “understand what an SME is” and stop its “one size fits all” attitude, adding “SMEs are individuals and need flexible solutions not policy straightjackets”.