What factors are impacting SME growth?

A new study has highlighted the key areas of focus for many SMEs that are looking to expand – namely tax relief, the recruitment of skilled graduates and access to finance.


The survey produced by the political publishing house Dods, used research from several policy workshops to gain an idea of general business sentiment among SMEs.


Growth Britain – unlocking the potential of our SMEs found that 79% of SMEs believed reducing tax burdens should be a government priority.


Businesses also requested changes to the existing tax system so that smaller firms could navigate the system without the need for specialist knowledge.


They also pointed to a focus on attracting the best graduate trainees for a number of roles, with this taking preference over training existing staff for new roles.


The importance of identifying an access channel


Access to finance was the third biggest concern for SMEs, with 28% of companies saying they believed it was pivotal to potential growth.


A lack of finance can result in administration or the need for corporate restructuring processes, both of which can require a lot of time, effort and resources.


According to the report, some SMEs lack the confidence to approach banks with regards to lending or felt that banks were not taking on a significant proportion of the risk involved. 


In these instances, restructuring at an early stage can allow for these issues to be addressed while it should limit the impact that any financial problems could have on the reputation of the company.


Businesses need to be encouraged to act and providing adequate support for them could lead to expansion and growth – widely linked to improving the economy.


Approaching export markets and new supply chains could assist with expansion, although finance would be required to make this possible.


This might only be feasible if work is done in advance, such as the looking at ways to make savings within the companies concerned – from saving on energy bills to securing cheaper contracts.


By Phil Smith


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