By Max Clarke

Sales and marketing strategies remain the greatest concern to the nation's small engineering businesses.

"Getting sales and marketing right is crucial for small engineering companies — especially as they are acknowledged as one of the main sectors to lead the country to a sustainable private sector recovery," said Phil Orford, Chief Executive of the business organisation that carried out the research, Forum for Private Business (FPB).

"However," continued Orford, "marketing often falls outside the skill-set of many small business owners in the industry, leaving them unsure about how best to increase sales and grow."

The solution, Orford explains, lies with business groups like the FPB who can collectively offer impartial advice in fields of expertise out of the remit of specialised, small scale and largely research or technical based businesses like those in the engineering industry.

One small engineering company which has benefitted from Forum membership is Delta Design Systems Ltd.

The highly successful Essex-based company was recently supported by the Forum in its efforts to secure bank lending to fund a multi-million pound contract to build power stations in Iraq, with the result that Conservative MP Brian Binley has taken up Delta Design's case at the Government's Business, Innovation and Skills Committee.

Kay Harris, Delta's Head of Marketing, said: "Forum membership has enabled us to gain access to much-needed resources via the Forum's networking and knowledge of issues facing business in the UK — especially with gaining and retaining financial support in very trying times.