By Daniel Hunter

An inspiring and yet hidden business success story is taking place in factories and offices across Britain, according to a new report released by HSBC Commercial Banking.

Behind the economic doom and gloom it reveals visionary business leaders who are trailblazing their way to growth — and challenging others to follow.

Identified as Growth Pioneers, these inspired individuals are taking control of the future of British business and steering the country towards recovery, according to the Growing British Business report. Fostering legendary British grit and adopting clever business strategies to prosper despite the downturn, these companies are capitalising on emerging ‘Beacons of Hope’ with 60% expecting to grow in the next two years.

Saying they are innovating and diversifying, rethinking their domestic opportunities and product markets, investing in staff, focusing on new international markets and using smart finance tools to turn order books into instant liquidity, the Growth Pioneers have clear and specific plans to fulfil their expansion targets.

"This report reveals the hidden successes we are seeing on a daily basis; British businesses getting on and growing despite the economic downturn," Steve Box, HSBC Head of Trade and Receivables Finance, UK, said.

"These inspirational business leaders hold the key to trading the country out of recession and are using smarter finance solutions and innovative thinking to strengthen both their position and that of the future UK economy.”

This business leader bullishness comes not despite the downturn but because of it, with 87% citing unexpected benefits from the economic crisis. Encouraging them to re-think their business focusing more on international trade, reshaping culture and getting innovative about financing has led to companies creating more efficient ways of working.

Growth Pioneers

The report identifies three types of Growth Pioneer who are rolling up their sleeves and making their own opportunities for growth. Each has their own inspiring and effective strategies for not merely surviving, but for prospering and expanding, in tough economic times:

· New Exportentials are making the much heralded export-led recovery a reality, working with experts to realise their potential and with their bank to maximise their cashflow;
· Co-operationals are creating formal and informal alliances and partnerships based on mutual strengths to get ahead recognising that combined power is often stronger in tough times;
· Confident Capitalisers are using the recession to get ahead, investing despite the downturn so they can outstrip their competitors, freeing up working capital within their business and investing assets for growth.

Innovation, investment in talent and exports to faster growing, emerging economies are key strategies for Growth Pioneers who are expanding despite the recession. While their strategic approaches differ, one of the commonalities they share is an innovative approach to financing their business.

The finance decision makers questioned in the report that are already using finance tools that allow them to free up working capital to expand growth or work with their bank to finance trade, have a far most positive outlook for growth:

· 78% of finance decision makers using trade and invoice finance believe they will grow in the next two years, compared to 60% of all business leaders
· 58% predict their exports will grow in the next five years (compared to 38% of all business leaders questioned)
· They are also less likely to have to make forced efficiency saves — 38% compared to the average of 62%.

Regional Hubs

The Growing British Business report also reveals city-specific tactics for growth highlighting that four of locations previously crowned super-cities by the Future Laboratory for HSBC — Newcastle, Bristol, Liverpool and London are fostering Growth Pioneers. With the super-city phenomenon gathering pace, the report also unveils four further UK cities preparing to realise their potential as drivers of growth and super-city status:

· Manchester which is investing in infrastructure for growth;
· Cambridge which is building its reputation as a high-tech hub primed to tap into China;
· Birmingham Building for success with the largest concentration of businesses outside London and fast becoming an international business hub;
· Aberdeen as a new centre for energy.

Each success story is underpinned by local businesses working hard to fuel the engines of growth as well as explore new domestic and international markets.

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