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US SMEs Find Confidence In Sticking Close To Home, Amex Finds

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American Express released a new report this week that finds widespread optimism and confidence among small businesses in the U.S. and abroad.

Reports Thursday (Feb. 16) said the Amex Global SME Pulse survey, which assessed the views of senior executives at SMEs across 15 different countries, found that, amid widespread optimism, small businesses in the U.S. are even more confident than their counterparts in other parts of the world. Researchers found that the majority of U.S. executives — 54 percent — said they are positive about the global economic outlook for the year ahead, significantly higher than the 39 percent of SMEs worldwide that said the same.

U.S. small business executives are also more optimistic than global averages about their local economic environments, the report said.

More than two-thirds of U.S. small businesses said they anticipate significant revenue growth of at least 4 percent in the coming year, while 42 percent expect at least 8 percent revenue growth. Again, these figures surpassed those of global averages.

For U.S. SMEs, the most important strategy today is to grow domestic revenue, researchers found. They plan to do so via boosted marketing and sales to domestic customers and by understanding changing customer demands — an interesting perspective considering the recent trend of globalization among small businesses.

Separate research from HSBC released this month found several factors holding back SMEs from expanding and trading globally, including a lack of international business experience and knowledge.

“Small and medium-sized enterprises have put strategies in place to grow product and service innovations, quickly respond to changing business demands and develop and retain skills and talent to help them thrive,” explained American Express Executive Vice President of Global Commercial Payments Brendan Walsh in a statement. “They are confident about and invested in the future of their businesses.”

Two-thirds of U.S. small businesses said they plan to encourage an innovative culture within their businesses, while nearly the same percentage said they plan to hire innovative professionals. Further, 73 percent said developing and implementing innovations will be one challenge they will work the most hard to overcome in the next three years.

According to American Express, 60 percent of SMEs said they struggle to access financing, while the majority said they rely on bank loans to finance their operations.

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