Increasing the size of their customer base, employing more people and cutting costs are the three most important business goals for UK SMEs in 2015, according to new research from Santander Corporate & Commercial.
Finding more customers was ranked by three-fifths of businesses (61%) as the key target, followed by half (52%) for employing more people and a similar number (51%) for cutting costs. Other objectives include buying new capital equipment (45%), to develop new products (41%), and to seek out new suppliers (33%).
The survey, which gauged sentiment from a range of UK businesses around their business plans in 2015, found that SMEs which described themselves as ‘highly ambitious’ were even more focused on growing customers and employees: two-thirds (66%) were looking to grow the number of customers and 57% to employ more staff.
Highly ambitious businesses were also more likely to be actively trading internationally: 56% stated they already trade internationally versus half (50%) for all firms; and a quarter (23%) said they will look to expand further into international markets in 2015 against a fifth (20%) of all businesses.
Commenting on the survey, Marcelino Castrillo, Head of SME at Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “It is great to see that expansion is a key theme for UK businesses in 2015, particularly with regards to employing more staff. This is great news for the UK economy as the health of the country’s small and medium-sized businesses significantly affects us all. It is also interesting to note that firms that see themselves as highly ambitious are eager to expand, grow and export even more, a good indication of what drives our more successful businesses.
“Santander is dedicated to supporting UK firms, and provides a comprehensive service suite for all types of businesses. We see that international trade is key priority for many and with services such as Breakthrough and the Trade Portal we are very well placed to help business to grow in the UK and abroad.”