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Mixed Performance in Q1

UK small business turnover has fallen in Q1 of 2012, but despite this, some sectors are performing better than others. In light of the double dip recession and ongoing problems in the Eurozone, it is welcome news that there is some hope to be found in the SME sector of the UK economy.

Growth or Decline?

Some sectors were up on turnover estimates from the same period in 2011. This shows that they are making steps towards recovery, and not regressing to levels felt at the depth of recession. And, despite the technical dip back into negative growth, they are continuing to improve – even if figures are still less than impressive.

Turnover fell or remained the same across all sectors between the last quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. However, year on year, there have been gains in a number of sectors.

The services sector has seen year on year growth of 1%, the engineering sector 0.5% and the recruitment sector 1%. However, the manufacturing and distribution sectors have consistently been declining in turnover year on year, with falls of 5% and 6% respectively.

It’s encouraging news to see some sectors holding up in the medium term, but it’s still all the more worrying that some are experiencing ongoing decline. This is certainly a contributing factor to the UK’s dip back into recession, as those sectors showing recovery and growth are not yet strong enough to rebalance the negative turnover figures of others.

Financing Options

For those businesses that have tapped into the export market as a means to recovery, the ongoing crisis in the eurozone could well be a contributing factor to disappointing growth. It’s important to maintain cash flow in these circumstances, and alternative finance could be one way to do so.

Any business which is struggling with a lack of working capital can benefit from invoice finance if they issue invoices to customers or other businesses. Instead of waiting a period of months for payment, it’s available within 24 hours through borrowing against the unpaid sums. With such mixed performance in the SME sector, invoice finance looks set to be popular for the coming year.


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