SMEs confident of growth

A RECENT St George survey has revealed small to medium enterprises (SMEs) are expecting 6.8 per cent growth this financial year, but with realistic expectations the recovery will be slow.

St George corporate and business bank general manager Greg Kenny, says the survey shows resilience and determination by SMEs to remain competitive for when the eventual upturn comes.

“The top strategies being adopted by SMEs include focusing on core customers, focusing on the fundamentals of their business, cost cutting, business development and increasing their product or service offering,” says Kenny.

Out of 1000 owners and managers surveyed across Australia, 44 per cent plan to increase their market share and 25 per cent plan to hire more staff, but only 7 per cent already have.

But two in three believe 09/10 will be worse than 08/09 and just 16 per cent expect profit to rebound at the end of 2009, but there is a degree of optimism.

“On average, SMEs are targeting growth of 6.8 per cent for the financial year ahead. Given historical average growth for SMEs is around 10 per cent, this provides a good indication they are still determined to achieve growth despite the economic downturn,” says Kenny.

“Another finding of this research is that whilst most SMEs are taking a very candid assessment of the future risks and challenges facing their businesses, only 1 per cent believe there is a high chance their business could fail.”

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