New figures suggest UK SMEs have found a new spring in their step

When the government made a huge effort to propel SMEs in the UK to the forefront of the general economic recovery by throwing their weight behind the Funding for Lending Scheme, they will have hoped that companies everywhere will have received a boost in confidence.


Now a new report from AXA Business Insurance appears to point towards SMEs generally feeling they are in very good shape at the moment compared to last year. However, the optimism does not necessarily extend to every sector.


Scratching beneath the surface


The ‘Optimism Index’ found that 81% of SMEs questioned are generally confident about the state of their business, with a further 58% even suggesting they feel 2014 may be even more profitable than this year. These latest results follow on the back of recent news that SME manufacturers, in particular, are looking ahead with optimism.


However, beyond the statistics there are distinctions which need to be made between the sectors involved and how they view their current position.


With a firm eye on next year, it was SMEs who were identified as operating in the retail and distribution sector as being the most confident about what 2014 may hold for them. 68% of SMEs in this sector felt 2014 would exceed their results for this year, whereas just 52% of companies in the building trade sector were as confident of the future.


The gap in expectations is perhaps representative of the greater problems which companies within the wider construction sector are currently dealing with.


The impact which the global financial crisis has had on numerous companies within the construction industry has led to a number of cases where they have been forced to turn to administration as a means of resolving their financial problems.


This type of measure has been increasingly popular for struggling businesses over the last few years, and has suited companies that felt they could not move forward or complete contracts.


Even though this new survey appears to indicate that SMEs have experienced a general rise in confidence, such optimism clearly extends further in some sectors than others.


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