Almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of SMEs predict that they will experience moderate to considerable growth over the next two years, according to research out yesterday.
Albion Ventures, a British venture capitalist investor, has found that only five per cent of small businesses believe they will shrink or fold in the same time period, with London one of the most optimistic regions about growth.
Two-thirds (65 per cent) of London business owners felt positive about growth compared to only 39 per cent of Welsh business owners, the most pessimistic UK region.
Finding skilled staff was the biggest barrier to SME growth, the report highlighted, with it being particularly a problem for companies in the construction, healthcare, manufacturing and medical sectors.
Lack of finance, the greatest obstacle during the recession, fell to 13th place from fifth last year.
Patrick Reeve, managing partner at Albion Ventures, said: “Against a backdrop of profound change, one element that has remained reassuringly unchanged is the optimism underlying the UK’s small businesses. Firms are looking to grow their headcount and productivity is on the increase. The biggest barrier to growth, finding skilled staff, is generated by success rather than failure.
“The downside is that the economy is coming under capacity constraints at a time of considerable political uncertainty. While many of the pressures on growth we have seen in recent years have eased, the skills that enable us to compete are in short supply.”