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Understanding Growth Priorities at SMBs

Understanding growth priorities at small and medium-sized businesses

An Economist Intelligence Unit research program Sponsored by Verio

Growth is always a challenge for businesses, but never more so than during a downturn. For small companies, the obstacles to expansion are greater than those for large fi rms. Although they may be more nimble in making decisions, smaller firms often have less bargaining power in negotiations with suppliers and customers, and less access to credit.

More than half of respondents to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey believe there will be a worldwide economic upturn by the middle of next year. One-quarter expect to see the global economy begin to recover by the end of 2009 and 34% anticipate a rebound by mid-2010. For its part, the Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts a contraction of global GDP in 2009 of 1.8%, and an expansion of 1.9% in 2010, which is slow by recent standards. It should come as little surprise, then, that only 37% of survey respondents expect their companies to do better this year than last. Respondents from the Asia-Pacific region are more optimistic: 43% “agree” or “strongly agree” that their firms will do better this year than last, compared with 30% for respondents in North America and Europe.

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