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Quarter of Yorkshire SMEs have never sought growth advice says survey

As the UK economy starts to show signs of recovery it has emerged that almost a quarter of Yorkshire SMEs have never sought advice on how to drive business growth.

The research from Yorkshire Bank also found that among those businesses which do seek advice, many are seeing a significant financial benefit.

The survey suggests that 24% of Yorkshire’s 354,000 SMEs never seek out advice on gearing up to grow their business. The research also found that the average saving or extra profit made by businesses who did take external advice was £4,000 every year.

If this saving was applied to all 84,960 businesses who don’t seek advice, the total saving could be almost £340m.

Across the UK, the survey found that 22% of Britain’s 4.9m* SMEs never seek out advice. If this saving was applied to all 1,078,000 businesses who don’t seek advice, the total saving could be in excess of £10.6bn.

The survey also indicates that 61% of those polled in Yorkshire were convinced that good professional advice was a key element in a successful business. Indeed 57% of businesses seek out advice at least once a year or more, 47% once every six months or more, while 16% looked for advice once a month or more.

Whilst the main source of advice was from professionals such as accountants and lawyers (44%), others included peers (41%), banks and trade bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses.

Meanwhile, the most popular areas of advice sought were ways to increase your business (33%), law and regulation (28%), and industry specific issues (18%).

Business confidence appears to be growing with recent SME research from Yorkshire Bank also suggesting that all businesses in Yorkshire were looking to invest over the next year. But the survey also revealed that just 12% of Yorkshire respondents believe there is enough public sector support for businesses that wish to set up or grow, while only 29% said there is enough private sector support for businesses that wish to set up or grow.

Alan Young, Regional Director for Business and Private Banking with Yorkshire Bank in Yorkshire, said: “The pressures and demands on business owners and managers have never been greater therefore finding the time to seek out external advice can be extremely challenging. It is more important than ever that businesses are aware of the specialist help and advice that is available to them and we will do all we can to help.

“Through our recent Business Week programme where we hosted over 200 events throughout the UK, we got the chance to provide relevant information on the topics that mattered most to our customers. SMEs are crucial to the UK economy and its emerging recovery and we will continue to support them and those that advise them, in 2014.”

Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks’ Business Week ran from 4th – 8th November with the Banks’ network of 43 Business & Private Banking Centres across the UK hosting more than 200 free events for local companies. Events ranged from a forum on the Yorkshire economy held in Leeds to national teleconferences on priority sectors including transport.

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