By Marcus Leach

Average export turnover for small businesses increased by 42 per cent between Q2 and Q3, according to The Cashflow Barometer, a quarterly report from Venture Finance found.

“Tentative domestic performance appears to have created a real appetite for growth overseas," Peter Ewen, Managing Director of Venture Finance said.

“In the current economic climate, exports could be a vital revenue stream for businesses, reflected in the rising export turnover experienced across the last quarter.”

The Cashflow Barometer is a quarterly indicator of the financial performance of UK small businesses, based on analysis of 700 companies.

Export growth

Further export data suggests that the number of overseas customers has increased by 17 per cent since Q2 2011 and has risen by 40 per cent since Q3 last year.

There is further positive news as the number of days outstanding for payment from export customers decreased by 16 per cent in the last quarter, an average fall of 11 days.

Domestic stabilisation

Meanwhile, turnover at home remains steady, increasing by 8 per cent between Q2 and Q3 2011.

The number of customers remained the same between Q2 and Q3 2011, despite having increased by 4 per cent since Q3 2011.

“Signs of stabilisation at home could provide the confidence needed for businesses to embrace new opportunities," Ewen added.

“It is vital that businesses overcome this recent knock in confidence for their own, and wider, economic prosperity”.

Sector success

Sectors vital to the economy have also enjoyed some success in the last quarter, with the manufacturing and engineering sectors in particular revealing increased turnover of 8 and 3 per cent respectively.

A positive indicator for the employment environment, recruitment turnover also increased by 11 per cent since Q2 2011 as did services turnover, increasing by 6 per cent.

The number of customers to manufacturing firms, however, decreased by 3 per cent in the last quarter, falling by 12 per cent in the last year.

Distribution firms are seeing a particularly rosy outlook with turnover increasing by 11 per cent between Q2 and Q3 2011.

“Overall, the picture looks fairly positive for businesses driven by rising exports and an encouraging performance from the engineering, manufacturing and distribution sectors — good news for both the Government and business owners," Ewen said.

“To make the most of this opportunity, businesses must now look to continue this success by securing the working capital needed to grow and make the most of business opportunities both at home and abroad."

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