Nearly a quarter of small and medium sized business owners in the South West feel they lack a winning edge over their competitors, according to a new survey.

And of that 23 per cent, almost one in ten believe a shortage of funding for growth is preventing them from competing for more business.

The figures come from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly poll that canvasses the opinions of UK SME owners and business managers on a range of issues.

Robin Goddard, regional director of Close Brothers Invoice Finance in the South West, said: “Our research suggests that many small business owners in the South West are concerned about their ability to compete in the wider marketplace.

"A lack of funding for growth is a real concern, because without an adequate supply of working capital, it will be difficult for SMEs to thrive.

"A further quarter of the 23 per cent of bosses that say that they lack a competitive advantage, believe it can be attributed to the fact that their product or service is too expensive.

“Interestingly, the Business Barometer shows that a quarter of local firms that are confident they have an edge over their rivals say the key to success is their ability to offer value for money.

“In today’s competitive business landscape, companies need to be able to react quickly to changes in the market, which may mean re-evaluating pricing structures or reconsidering their financial plans.”

The survey further revealed that only 28 per cent of businesses polled in the South West expect their business to expand within the next 12 months, while 62 per cent expect trading figures to stay the same.

Mr Goddard said: “In order to gain a competitive advantage in the wider market place, firms must be able to access capital to allow them to seize opportunities as they arise.

"To do this, they need to be aware of the full range of funding methods available to them.

“We harbour some truly brilliant and innovative companies here in the South West and we need to ensure they are in a position to compete on a global scale in today’s global marketplace.”

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