Yorkshire bank revealed the results of a survey at the start of the year, based upon what SMEs in the West Midlands think about business growth. This reveals what businesses actually think – not what reality necessarily is, or what experts tell us about the economy and business growth, but real-life businesses and their take on things.

So here’s 5 surprising finds from this:

1. Over a fifth of SMEs do not seek business-growth advice. Wow, you would have thought every single business is looking to grow to some degree, even if it is just a goal that never actually ends up happening for whatever reason. It may be that businesses are focusing on just survival in these difficult times rather than actual growth, or maybe they do want to grow but simply don’t have the budget or resources to and therefore not even expecting to do so. Another possibility is that they are self-sufficient, looking at growth in their own way and not needing advice which is what this statistics refers to. Or maybe they see business growth as naturally happening, a good example being a solid family business that simply focuses on doing a good job and treating people well, and relying upon word-of-mouth to naturally bring in any new business and let nature takes it course.

2. There are 83% of businesses seeking to invest in the future. In the majority of cases this will mean a cost and investment now with an expected greater return at some point in the future, hence clear business growth. It can though mean self-survival – investing something now simply to tick-over in hard times rather than specific business growth.

3. 50% believe that there is  enough private- and public-sector help available when it comes to business development. A little surprising, as you would have thought that more businesses may like they’re left in the dark when in actual fact they do appreciate that help is available, but it may be more of a case of successfully accessing and applying this.

4. Two thirds of SMEs believe that obtaining professional advice is important, and will do at least annually. Furthermore there is 40% who seek at least monthly, which is a good indicator that businesses see the importance or regular on-going support rather than just a one-off blitz.

5. They provide a breakdown of where this advice comes from, as below. An interesting issue if when advisors fall between different categories, and the ever-increasing demand to be multi-skilled, something we’ve spotted with working with Accountants through the BEST Accountants In Walsall service and the increasing need for them to offer wider business-growth advice as well as pure accountancy.

• Trade bodies, for example Federation of Small Businesses, peers, free websites, and banks – 26%
• Law and regulation – 30%
• Issues specify to an industry – 24%
• Ways to increase your business – 24%

All in all, sounds promising – businesses are looking at business growth, and seeing the value in seeking advice to help accomplish this.