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SMEs ‘optimistic but cautious’ on growth prospects

SMALL BUSINESSES are confident about growth but are not sure where it’s going to come from, according to a survey of 750 SMEs by Baker Tilly.

Turnover will increase during 2014, according to three-quarters of respondents, with 45% ‘confident’ or ‘extremely confident’ about growth opportunities during the period.

However, only 18% are looking to take on new staff, with 16% looking to increase R&D spend. Less than one quarter will increase spend on sales and marketing.

More than eight out of ten are unwilling to take on more debt over the next 12 months, while just 23% said they would seriously consider alternative forms of finance, such as crowdfunding, leasing or invoice finance.

Nine out of ten are not planning to use any of the main tax incentives available to SMEs.
Three-quarters expect their workforce numbers to stay the same – with 8% expecting shrinkage.

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