Scotland SME research in The Herald

Bibby Financial Services Scotland SME research in The Herald

Bibby Financial Services Scotland SME research in The Herald

The latest Bibby Financial Services research of small and medium sized enterprises in Scotland shows that almost two thirds of businesses expect to see an increase in sales over the coming months. The research forms part of a report, due for publication in August, and findings featured in The Herald Scotland on 16 July. You can view the Herald coverage here and our press release is below.

Optimism soars for Scottish SMEs as two thirds invest in future

Optimism among small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Scotland is on the up, with 61 per cent expecting to see an increase in sales over the next three months, according to the latest research by business funder Bibby Financial Services.

More than two thirds (69 per cent) of SMEs in Scotland are expecting growth in the next three months, and one in five (19 per cent) is anticipating ‘significant’ growth. Scottish business owners and managers are positively buoyant as the country continues on the road to economic recovery and bounces back from the worst recession in decades. Two thirds (64 per cent) say they have invested in their business over the past three months in areas including technology and equipment, recruitment, staff training and new product development.

Just four per cent of businesses in Scotland think sales will actually fall in the next quarter.

Alan Anderson, Head of Sales at Bibby Financial Services Scotland says: “Our research findings are overwhelmingly positive for the economy and highlight a real step-change in the expectations of SMEs in the country. More than half (52 per cent) of Scottish SMEs report an increase in sales in the last three months, and 18 per cent are seeing a significant rise in sales, which is extremely positive.

“Scottish businesses we are working with tell us that 2014 is shaping up to be a year of real optimism. Firms are once again planning for the mid and long-term, rather than just preparing for the months ahead.

“Coupled with the ‘Commonwealth Games effect’ that is giving rise to a broad sense of positivity across the country, this is certainly a far cry from how things were just a few years ago.”

Such is the extent of Scots’ business optimism that 70 per cent of owners and managers anticipate their businesses will grow over the next three years.

These latest research findings come as the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute reports that the Scottish economy is now enjoying a strong economic recovery with GDP growth forecast at 2.5 per cent, up 0.2 per cent from its March report. The revised prediction is based on higher than expected household spending, an upturn in investment, improving trade conditions and growing Scottish business optimism .

However, recently Bibby Financial Services revealed that there is some nervousness among Scottish SMEs about the implications of a vote for independence in September. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of Scottish small and medium-sized businesses fear they will lose business if there is a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum and some 70 per cent have rejected the idea that independence would be a positive step for the nation.

Alan added: “Irrespective of what happens in September, it is extremely encouraging that Scottish businesses are feeling confident about the immediate future and the prospects for sales growth.

“There’s a real enthusiasm for entrepreneurship in Scotland and we have a rising number of young, vibrant businesses, which should put us in good-stead in terms of longer-term recovery and growth.

“To ensure SMEs have the tools they need to grow, the business community needs to rally-round to offer support in relation to sales and marketing, trading internationally, human resourcing and, perhaps most importantly, funding”, Alan concluded.

Posted by on 16 July 2014.