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Mike Randall

SMEs say a lack of innovation is harming their potential

TWO fifths of small and medium sized firms in the UK are unhappy with their current business performance, admitting that they could be more innovative and proactive when it comes to identifying growth opportunities.

The figure comes from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that canvasses the opinion of SME owners and senior management from a variety of sectors across the UK.

CEO of Close Brothers Asset Finance, Mike Randall said: “While many firms are striving for growth our survey shows there are factors holding them back from achieving their full potential.

Mike Randall

Mike Randall

“Innovation is a critical part of many firms’ growth strategies and yet our survey has highlighted that the ability to be innovative is a stumbling block for many businesses. Less than a third of the companies we talked to felt that they are sufficiently innovative. As the economy continues to gather pace, we need to prioritise the creation of a business environment that encourages the commercialisation of new ideas.

“That means financiers investing in small business so they in turn can invest in the things that they need to be truly innovative – whether that’s research and development, new machinery, the latest technology or additional staff.”

The Business Barometer revealed that 38% of those surveyed intend to seek funding for growth within the next 12 months, but of that figure, half are concerned that their request for finance will be turned down by their bank.

Mr Randall continued: “We found that many businesses still aren’t aware of the full range of funding options available to them. In fact, 44% of those surveyed hadn’t heard of asset finance and a fifth were totally unaware of any alternatives to traditional bank lending.

“That is why we are working with businesses across the UK to further understanding of the wider spectrum of finance options available so that firms will be well capitalised, able to innovate and in a position to proactively pursue growth opportunities,” he added.

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