Small and medium sized enterprises

Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) represent the very best of the business world. Whether it’s a technology start-up, a new consumer skincare product or a catering service, these companies challenge the status quo, bring fresh ideas to market and provide exciting career opportunities for millions of people every year.

Often, at this stage of development, these companies still retain the original founders, innovators and risk-takers that came up with the concept and launched the business in the first place. These owners and shareholders will doubtless have worked for many long hours to grow the business, attract and retain a regular customer base and have a clear vision about how to take the company to the next level.

However, as sales increase, so does administration, headcount and responsibility. Winning new contracts and expanding revenue often brings with it numerous challenges around HR, paperwork and the urgent need for experience in areas such as marketing, sales and finance.

This is where the challenges appear, with many cautious owners naturally sceptical of six-
figure hires and expensive purchasing of software and new systems to take the business forward. Even with a healthy balance sheet and retained profits, many entrepreneurs are naturally fearful of expanding too quickly for fear of damaging customer service levels or being swamped with a substantial extra workload.
Added to this, the last three years since the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union, have hardly been reflective of national confidence that inspires companies to invest in the future. However, after political paralysis and economic uncertainly, we now for better or for worse know where things stand. This new-found confidence is something we discovered in our own recently published research, where we commissioned independent survey company Censuswide to ask 200 senior business decision-makers in small and medium sized enterprises about their thoughts on 2020.

We discovered that over one quarter (28 per cent) were expecting a revenue bounce, whilst nearly one third (32 per cent) are planning to increase technology spending by at least 10% in the first three months of this year. The survey also found that 37 per cent expect the UK economy to grow substantially following Brexit.

So, after three years of political and economic uncertainty, SMEs now at long last have the opportunity to move forward with confidence. Whether it be seeking investment or private equity support, the time make the move towards rapid expansion is now. Those that choose to seize the moment will enjoy strong growth by taking the company to the next level.

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