Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the U.S. and worldwide are optimistic about the economy and confident about their future business performance, according to the inaugural American Express Global SME Pulse (business.americanexpress.com).
The new survey of senior executives and decision makers from SMEs across 15 countries reveals these businesses in the U.S. are even more optimistic about the global economy than their foreign counterparts. More than half of U.S. executives (54%, vs. 39% overall) are positive about the global economic outlook over the next 12 months. When asked to consider the local economic environment, they are even more upbeat, as nearly six in ten are positive (59% vs. 45% overall).
Executives are also confident in their ability to deliver increased revenues and profitability. More than two -thirds of the U.S. SMEs surveyed (69%, vs. 58% overall) expect significant revenue growth of at least 4 percent over the next 12 months. Forty two percent anticipate revenue growth of at least 8 percent over the same period, double that of SMEs worldwide (21%). In terms of profitability, U.S. SMEs are also upbeat, with thirty five percent forecasting a net profit of at least 8 percent per annum over the next three years. U.S. SMEs say their most important strategy to grow domestic revenue is more effective marketing and sales to domestic customers (48%), followed closely by understanding changing customer demands (46%).
“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,” said Brendan Walsh, Executive Vice President, Global Commercial Payments, American Express. “They are confident about and invested in the future of their businesses.”
While SMEs are optimistic about the economy and their own business, they also recognize areas for concern. Nearly half (47%) rank economic uncertainty as the greatest external threat to their business. SMEs also identify political uncertainty (31%) and changes to domestic policies, laws or regulations as a key threat (24%).