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Export Boom Offsets Domestic Gloom

Recent figures have shown that small business turnover decreased 3% between the third and fourth quarter of 2011 according to the Cashflow Barometer, a quarterly report from an asset and invoice based lender. This decrease in performance amongst small business is worrying, but is offset by a growth in exports – which many businesses have begun to seek as they continue to struggle with cash flow at home.

Domestic Slow Down

Based on an analysis of 700 companies, this report shows slow down across the small business sector in the last two quarters of last year. There were also decreases in performance across the manufacturing, services and engineering sectors.

Following an increase of 11% in the second quarter, recruitment fell by 3% in the same period. This shows that while recovery is beginning to reinvigorate recruitment plans, this is not yet growing consistently quarter on quarter.

There was also a drop in the number of customers per company – engineering firms experienced an 8% decrease, and manufacturing a 2% decrease. There were also contractions in the customers of services and recruitment companies, despite these sectors experiencing growth at the beginning of the year.

The shaky domestic picture is reflected in some of these key business areas. Whilst growth and recovery are beginning to take off, these are by no means guaranteed. Though there might be an overall upwards trend, growth remains slow. To achieve stability in 2012 businesses will need to stay alert – and, as many have done, look for export trade to offset domestic gloom.

Growth in Exports

Small businesses are seeking export growth, with year over year turnover up by 83% at the end of last year. Export turnover dipped 4% in the fourth quarter, but had experienced an increase of 42% between Q2 and Q3.

These are positive statistics, but many businesses are starting from scratch when it comes to export trade. Small businesses have been forced to look further afield as domestic growth continues to stutter. However, this growth in export trade does show a step in the right direction.



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