UK SMEs Optimistic of Business Upswing in 2012

  • 62 per cent of SME business owners expect their revenue to increase in 2012
  • 27 per cent plan to create new jobs over next twelve months
  • 65 per cent say winning new business will be their priority over the next twelve months

Britain’s small businesses expect to grow their profits and employee headcount over the next 12 months despite the bleak economic climate, according to a survey of 374 small businesses by Simply Business, the UK’s largest business insurance broker.

Despite 73 per cent of those surveyed saying they do not expect the economy to improve in the next 12 months, 62 per cent still said they expect their revenue to increase within this time period. Expanding their business is the key focus of these companies, with 65 per cent saying that winning new business will be their key priority over the next 12 months. Six per cent named securing funding as their main priority for next year and the same number said reducing costs would be their most important consideration.

Looking at their balance sheets over the previous 12 months, 79 per cent of respondents reported that their revenue increased or stayed the same and 80 per cent said their profit was stable or improved year on year, while 93 per cent of businesses said they had not made any redundancies in that time.

In fact, 27 per cent of the business owners Simply Business questioned plan to create new jobs and increase their employee numbers over the next 12 months. The creation of jobs will doubtlessly be welcome news for 2.51million people who are currently out of work in the UK.

Business creation infographic Source: Simply Business

Banks are still the first port of call for many small business owners when looking for additional funding. Over the past 12 months, 11 per cent of the small businesses questioned had sought a loan from a bank: of these, 67 per cent were granted credit and 33 per cent refused. Family is the next most heavily called upon funding resource, with 10 per cent of these small businesses having received a loan from a family member over the past 12 months. In the same time scale, only three per cent of these small businesses received a government grant and fewer still turned to angel investors (2 per cent), venture capitalists (1 per cent) or crowd-sourcing (0.5 per cent).

Jason Stockwood, CEO, Simply Business, commented:

“The optimistic picture these SMEs paint is heartening in these tough times. When you consider that SMEs account for 99.9 per cent* of the total enterprises in the UK and provide over 59 per cent* of the jobs in the private sector their continued success and growth is key to our economic recovery.”

Simply Business commissioned the UK SME Trends survey to build an accurate picture of the predictions for 2012 from the small business owner’s perspective. The research covered topics including marketing spend, projected revenue, funding sources, headcount changes, sales and finance plus other priorities and predictions for the next 12 months. 374 UK SME business owners and decision makers took part in the survey in October 2011.

Notes to Editors

Simply Business commissioned the UK SME Trends survey in October 2011. 374 UK SMEs took part. Of the businesses that took part:

  • 34 per cent are sole traders
  • 45 per cent are small businesses (between 1 and 50 employees)
  • 2 per cent are medium sized businesses (50+ employees)
  • 19 per cent did not disclose their size

See http://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/knowledge/articles/2011/09/2011-09-12-sme-trend-small-business-survey-uk/ for further information.

*Figures taken from the Business Population Estimates for the UK and Regions 2010 issued by the department for Business Innovation and Skills, published by the ONS.

For further information, please contact:

Sophie Howard or Elisabeth Middlemas
020 7009 3128/3116
simplybusiness@3-monkeys.co.uk

About Simply Business

Simply Business is the UK’s biggest business insurance provider, specialising in public liability insurance for SMEs and landlord insurance.

Launched in 2005, Simply Business provides an online brokerage service delivering policies tailored to individual business requirements. It has a team of UK based insurance specialists and employs almost 300 people across offices in London and Northampton.

Simply Business provides insurance to more than 400,000 UK SMEs and landlords and owing to its internal underwriting capability can cover over 1,000 trade types. It has been a Sunday Times Tech Track 100 company for the past three years and was recently named in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA. Revenues have grown from £4.2 million in 2006, to £25.4 million in 2014, and the company has been named 2015 and 2016 winners of The Sunday Times’ Best Company to Work For.