UK’s SMEs Look On The Bright Side, Says Cisco

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Smaller UK businesses believe they will drive the UK’s economic recovery this year, according to a Cisco survey

A Cisco survey has found widespread optimism amongst the UK’s small and medium-sized businesses, with two-thirds, or 66 percent, saying they confident about their prospects for 2011.

The Cisco Business Heroes Barometer 2010, published on Tuesday, found 44 percent of UK smaller organisations have increased their revenues in the past 12 months. Sixty percent said they believed smaller businesses will be the drivers of economic recovery in the UK in the coming year.

Greater flexibility

Business owners and directors of smaller businesses said their flexibility (56 percent), agility (54 percent) and better customer service (49 percent) made them better able to prosper during a downturn than their larger counterparts, according to Cisco.

Forty-one percent of the UK’s small businesses said they see the upcoming Olympic Games presenting opportunities for them, while 39 percent said they believe the Olympics will play a role in kick-starting the UK economy.

“That almost half of SMEs increased their revenues in 2010, amidst talk of nothing but austerity, is testament to their role as the engine room of the economy,” said David Critchley, Cisco UKI director of Small and Medium Enterprises, in a statement.

Recruitment plans

The study found that 73 percent of smaller businesses plan to recruit more staff this year, with 74 percent planning to invest in training and development.

Fifty-five percent plan to invest in IT and networking infrastructure this year, including 35 percent in videoconferencing and 25 percent in cloud computing (which is believed to favour SMEs) or open source software.

Seventy-two percent plan to invest in technology to support mobile or flexible working arragements, Cisco said. Fifty-six percent use social media to monitor what their customers are saying about them, and 49 percent use it to support sales and marketing activity.

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