By Daniel Hunter

As 2015 commences, small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) are confident about their business and the economy, according to npower.

The research of 1,008 SME senior decision makers, in the Manufacturing, Retail, Leisure & Hospitality and Business Services sectors in Britain, showed 50% of those surveyed expect to see an increase in business turnover during the next 12 months.

Red tape and skills

However the research did reveal fears over the amount of red tape and taxes imposed upon SME businesses as well as concerns over the availability of credit and skills, with 49% of businesses worried that tough legislation and regulation will hamper their ability to grow in the next 12 months, potentially putting the brakes on the success of small businesses just as things are looking up.

The study stressed that whilst SME headcount is expected to increase (21%), 33% of SME decision makers are believe that a skills shortage may restrict future business growth over the next 12 months. Other barriers to future growth include lack of bank lending, cited by 47%.

The research also highlighted that whilst SMEs are considering the short term success of their business, the long term succession plan is becoming a thing of the past with a staggering 71% of those surveyed saying their businesses have no succession plan in place.

Jason Scagell, Director of npower Business at npower, said: “While we’ve seen a clear acknowledgement of the contribution that SMEs make to UK plc in the recent Autumn Statement as well as through initiatives like Small Business Saturday, this study highlights that there is still some way to go before SMEs can honestly say that they are performing at the level they would like. These businesses are often described as the lifeblood of the UK economy and it’s obviously vital that they get the support they need to develop and grow.”

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