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How SMEs Plan To Support Growth This Year

Recent research conducted by American Express and Oxford Economics reveals that SMEs in the UK are optimistic about the global economy – and are confidently planning to focus on their existing ‘core strengths’ in order to expand and grow in the year ahead.

What are business’ plans to fuel revenue growth?

Small- and medium-sized enterprises across the world were surveyed in order to gain insight into the threats faced, opportunities presented and business strategies planned.

Asked about their top three strategies to fuel revenue growth, 41% of UK SMEs responded that they planned to capitalise on their core strengths – agility, innovation and strong customer relationships – in order to build their business. 47% noted increasing operational efficiency as another method of improving financial performance over the next three years.

Going ‘back to basics’

British businesses also made note of going back to basics, that is, by focusing on ‘staying close to customers’ changing demands’ to drive growth.

Of the 12 countries surveyed, the UK is the most customer-centric market (45% said customers’ changing demands was important, compared to a global average of 36%). This approach comes at a time where SMEs are especially confident about the economy.

The halo effect continues with their growth targets: 23% of UK SMEs believe that they can achieve an average of 10% in revenue growth over the next three years. The report registered 24% of SMEs surveyed as experiencing improved financial performance. Across the board, SMEs felt positive about financial growth and new opportunities and were hopeful of increasing profits by looking abroad.

Jose Carvalho, Senior Vice President at American Express Global Commercial Payments, commented, "After a challenging few years for businesses of all sizes, it’s encouraging to see such high levels of confidence among the country’s SMEs. Our research shows that the UK’s smaller enterprises are primed for success in 2018 by focusing on their special advantages, staying close to their customers, and improving efficiency. As an integral part of the economy, and the frontline of British business, SME optimism should instil confidence in other UK businesses and stakeholders."

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