Small Business Survey March 2015 – Summary of Trends in SME Performance

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills survey of business owners and managers in the UK (Small Business Survey 2014 - SME Employers March 2015) focuses on a range of issues including recent growth in sales turnover and employment, obstacles to business success, capabilities of owners and managers, access to finance and the use of business support.

01/06/2015, latest thinking

The survey results provide us with useful insights into the UK small business community particularly when compared with the results of the previous Small Business Survey in 2012. The key trends help those offering services to small business and those involved in shaping policy to build a picture of the health and confidence of small businesses and the issues which are currently impacting on the sector.

With regard to trends in business performance the survey shows that with recent employment, sales performance and profit results were more positive in 2014 than in 2012. Similarly businesses were more optimistic for the next twelve months than they were in 2012.

22% employ more people than 12 months previously

16% employ fewer people than 12 months previously

32% expect to employ more people in 12 months’ time

4% expect to employ fewer people in 12 months’ time

40% sales turnover higher than a year previously

18% sales turnover lower than a year previously

51% expect higher sales turnover in 12 months’ time

8% expect lower sales turnover in 12 months’ time

78% generated a profit in the last financial year

73% plan to grow the business in the next 2-3 years.

This optimism is continuing. Despite the first three months of 2015 marking the slowest quarterly growth for two years recent CBI research suggests that business activity increased markedly in the three months to May.

According to the CBI all sectors of the economy are growing. Its latest survey of more than 800 companies suggests the services sector including banking and finance, restaurants and plumbing, is doing particularly well. This sector recorded its fastest growth in business volumes since February 2006 and was the main driver of the overall increase in economic growth.

View the full report