Almost three quarters (71 per cent) of small and medium sized businesses in Yorkshire and Humberside are expecting their firms to grow over the next three months, according to the latest report from Bibby Financial Services.
The Business Factors Index, produced quarterly by the specialist business funder, surveyed more than 1,000 UK business owners and found that the attitude amongst SMEs in the region is positive following a successful first quarter.
The latest report shows that almost half (48 per cent) of SMEs in Yorkshire and Humberside saw sales increase during the first three months of the year, with 15 per cent reporting that sales had increased significantly.
The latest report echoes the positive attitude towards the wider economic recovery and paints a picture of UK SMEs in the region benefiting from the increased national confidence.
A growing sense of optimism about the economy is also reflected in a rise in recruitment as a quarter (24 per cent) of SMEs in the Yorkshire and Humberside have taken on new staff already this year, with 11 per cent saying they plan to take on more employees going forward.
The report also shows that 24 per cent of SMEs in the region have invested in their current work force, with half (46 per cent) saying they have invested in either new or current premises, equipment or technical services.
Looking ahead, for the next three months key findings include:
• 20 per cent are predicting significant growth
• 57 per cent expect sales to increase
• 14 per cent expect sales to increase significantly
• 67 per cent plan to invest in their business
• 29 per cent will recruit or invest in their current staff
• 18 per cent plan to invest in new technology or equipment
Mark Storey, MD for Bibby Financial Services Yorkshire and Humberside, said:
“The findings of our research for Q1 2014 reflect national SME performance according to our headline index data, which recorded the highest level of first quarter output among our 4,000 invoice finance clients since 2008.
“However, if SMEs in Yorkshire and Humberside are going to realise their growth ambitions, it is important that they have access to funding that supports the development of their business.
“One in ten SMEs say they struggle with poor cash flow, and often, traditional forms of finance are unable to offer a solution.
“A flexible facility such as invoice finance works in tandem with the growth of a business, and is ideally suited to providing the kind of specialist support needed by many firms in the region at this time.”