Survey Finds SMEs Highly Optimistic About 2015

SMEs Expect High Growth - But Some Are Not Ready For It


Fergal Dowling, Partner | +44 (0)121 214 5476

Britain's SMEs have delivered one of the most upbeat forecasts about their future prospects in many years - but some have acknowledged they are not yet geared up to take advantage of the opportunities economic growth presents.

The survey by mobile and broadband company EE found 69 per cent of small business owners and decision makers believe their companies will see double digit growth in 2015, with the average projection for next year being 26 per cent.

However, there is widespread concern among these firms that they do not have the technology, space and skilled staff required to meet the growth in customer demand. Some 42 per cent have said they believe their survival will be at risk if they cannot meet these challenges.

Director of small business at EE Mike Tomlinson said: "Our research shows Britain's small businesses are expecting growth in the next year, but many worry they don't have the resources to scale to meet that change."

While EE has launched its own telecoms and IT packages aimed at helping companies to expand their technological capacities, that may still leave unanswered questions for firms in areas like staffing, not least as getting skilled employees is an increasingly difficult task as the available pool of labour shrinks with each passing month of falling unemployment.

The most recent figures showed unemployment dropped to 2.02 million in the three months to July this year, down 146,000 on the previous quarter and 468,000 on 12 months before. Given the lag in counting, it is therefore likely the tally is now significantly less than two million.

At the same time, the number employed has risen even faster, with 774,000 more in work in the past year and the workforce now numbering a record 30.61 million. The discrepancy in the figures can be accounted for by net immigration and people not classed as unemployed getting into jobs, such as those previously in education or training.

Expert Opinion
The growth and development of small businesses is of vital importance to the wider business community, with the Government and many thought leaders emphasising that they are the lifeblood of the economy.

"However, this research demonstrates that while SMEs are confident about what the future holds, many do not feel ready to take advantage of all of the opportunities which are set to come their way.

"Planning is essential for SMEs if they are to succeed in developing their offerings and part of their planning process for growth needs to be to speak to legal experts, who will be able to ensure that any preparation for the future is robust, comprehensive and complies with necessary regulations."
Fergal Dowling, Partner