In the group’s thinkBIG 2015 report, 68 per cent of business owners stated they anticipate growth, compared to 64 per cent in 2014.
The report revealed that 49 per cent of SME owners reported growth over the last 12 months, up 3 percentage points from last year, while 16 per cent reported a decline in revenue compared to 20 per cent last year.
“Business owners are cautiously optimistic about the medium-term prospects for their business,” according to national head of business solutions Andrew Graham.
“When looking at the results over the past few years, we can see, however, that the optimism is not always realistic.
“When comparing expected growth with achieved growth, there is a clear gap,” he noted.
Of those surveyed, 40 per cent of SME owners said their business growth is expected to come through increased sales in the current pipeline.
The survey also found that 26 per cent expect growth to come from new markets, 20 per cent from the launch of new products or services and 20 per cent from expansion.
“The most successful businesses will be those that address the rapidly changing sales environment by recognising growth opportunities, ensuring due diligence and financing is appropriate, and engaging their workforce to drive productivity,” Mr Graham said.