Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 8°C

ESTD 1874 Search

East Anglia: SMEs stepping up their investment plans, Bibby Financial Services’s latest Business Factors Index reveals

14:22 10 March 2014

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia

GRAHAM FLACK 07747 015131

Small and medium sized enterprises in East Anglia are stepping up their investment plans following a further improvement in new business during the final months of 2013.

shares

According to the latest Business Factors Index, produced quarterly by Bibby Financial Services, nearly half of SMEs in the region (48%) saw an increase in new customers during the final quarter of last year, up from 46 in the previous three months.

More than two in five of the firms (42%) said they were investing in new product development, up substantially from just 16% in the third quarter, while a similar proportion (41% said they were investin in training and staff development, up from 31% in the previous survey..

However, the survey also shows that the economic climate remains challenging for many SMEs, one in five citing costs as a major barrier to growth.

The Business Factors Index surveys the sentiment and outlook of 500 SME owners across the manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services services.

Across the South of England as a whole, including East Anglia, the South East, Greater London and the South West, 36% of firms reported an improvement in morale, compared with 30% in the third quarter, with 10% saying that business has never been better, up from 5% in the previous three months. The survey also found that two out of five firms in the south (39%) saw a rise in customers in the final quarter of 2013.

However, the overall picture for the South was slightly less positive than in the third quarter, with strong figures for East Anglia and the South West offset by a weaker performance in London and the South East.

Sharon Wiltshire, head of Bibby Financial Services East Anglia said: “The findings of our research for Q4 2013 are certainly encouraging and although we’re not yet heading back to pre-recession levels of trading, what we do have is the foundations on which to start building for a sustainable recovery.

“The reality for many SMEs in East Anglia is that running a business is still a huge challenge, and one in five, 20%, of the firms we spoke to during Q4 said the cost of running their business was the biggest barrier to growth.

“In order to start benefiting from better trading conditions, it is imperative that the financial services sector plays its part in backing those firms and providing the kind of funding that not only meets a financial requirement but works with development of the business.”

shares

0 comments

The scene of a thatch fire in Stoke-by-Nayland

A picturesque country cottage is still standing today despite a fire ripping through its thatched roof.

An Abellio Greater Anglia train

Rail services between London Liverpool Street and Norwich have been cancelled after a train fault at Diss.

Ipswich Town v Arsenal  FA Cup Final at Wembley 1978 - 

Kevin Beattie and Allan Hunter

It is an impassioned debate which never fails to invigorate the East Anglian derby.

Colchester Half-Marathon. Starting and finishing at Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Competitors braved the dismal morning weather today to take part in the Colchester Half Marathon.

The scene after the thatched roof fire in Stoke by Nayland - Picture credit - Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service

Ten fire crews tackled a thatched roof blaze in a Suffolk village overnight.

Sir John French: a colourful character and respected soldier

We’ve heard about the Suffolk men who fought at the battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Ipswich Crown Court

A 19-year old man who met up with a 13-year-old girl and exchanged text messages with her despite being given a police caution for kissing her several months earlier has been sentenced to 21 months youth detention.

St Edmundsbury Cathedral overlooking colourful displays in the Abbey Gardens

Suffolk’s most important religious building has been awarded a £300,000 Government grant to pay for urgent roof repairs.

Josephine Murphy

An 86-year-old woman who had gone missing from Clacton has been found safe and well

Aftermath of a barn fire in Holton.

A television antiques expert has appealed for help rebuilding his eco-friendly arts centre in Suffolk after a major blaze destroyed the historic sawmill that was to be its showroom and workshops.

Most read

Topic pages