Growing their business is the top priority for nearly half of UK SME owners in 2007, a new survey reveals, with around 30 per cent saying they hoped to forge stronger relationships with their customers in years ahead.Statistics from Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank’s Business Banking Observer also show that a similar proportion of SME owners (48 per cent) are more optimistic about the state of the economy than they were a year ago – with only a quarter saying that are less confident about its future performance.Steve Jennings, Director of Business Banking at Alliance & Leicester Commercial Bank, said: "It’s really encouraging that so many small businesses are optimistic and ambitious about their prospects in 2007 and are planning for growth.""Having the right finances in place is essential for sustaining business growth – having a supportive business bank behind you to help you meet your business objectives can make all the difference," he continued.SME owners’ biggest concerns were listed as the economy (32 per cent), finding the right staff (19 per cent) and managing and dealing with red tape (16 per cent).© Adfero Ltd