UK SMBs Continue to see Growth Despite Tough Economic Conditions, Says HP

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Average SMB Growth Rate of 6% Over the Past Six Months

BRACKNELL, England, April 18, 2011 - Over the past six months UK small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have
grown on average by six per cent despite the broader UK economy struggling,
according to the latest SMB Index from HP.

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HP's survey of 1,000 SMBs, with between 1 and 50 employees
shows that, compared to that of the previous six months, growth for UK SMBs
has slowed slightly but optimism is still strong, with SMBs expecting to grow
by up to 13 per cent over the next year. Optimism in the economy is also
strong, with 66 per cent of SMBs optimistic about the year ahead. SMBs in
Financial Services have grown the most (13 per cent), followed by
Manufacturing (10 per cent). SMBs in Retail (4 per cent) and Professional
Services (1 per cent) have seen the least growth.

Nearly half of UK SMBs (48 per cent) are turning to social
media to help grow their business and reach new audiences, with 56 per cent
of sole traders recognising its value the most. However, although SMBs are
finding social media beneficial for networking purposes (83 per cent), and as
a mechanism for advertising (57 per cent), many SMBs are underestimating its
true potential for business growth and lead generation.

Only 34 per cent of SMBs are using online business forums to
share insights or as a tool to seek advice. Having identified 'expert advice'
(65 per cent) as the number one influence on their own purchasing decisions,
along with peer recommendations (42 per cent), it is surprising that very few
SMBs recognise the importance of adding value to their own customers or
prospective customers via online communities, which could positively effect
lead generation and growth.

"The internet is an important tool for business growth, and it
is savvy SMBs who understand its potential beyond e-commerce," explains Katie
, professional branding expert. "Whether by responding to requests for
advice in business forums, making recommendations or blogging or Tweeting
great ideas, SMBs can build credibility and trust in their brand and gain
potential customers. All it takes is a bit of time and effort."

"Since setting up my strategic marketing consultancy just over
two years ago, I've built my entire business through networking. In that time
I've generated over GBP500k in business through conversations that initiated
on online community platforms," explains Bryony Thomas, Founder of Clear
Thought Consulting. "Whether you're a sole trader, freelancer, a small
business stretching a modest marketing budget, or a sales person in a larger
SMBs, time spent on online communities can definitely be a profitable

When asked how they are changing their relationship with
technology, only 18 per cent of SMBs said that they were contemplating using
tablet devices for business use. The main reason for not considering them was
related to cost (55 per cent), as opposed to the lack of security features (6
per cent) which was the least considered factor in preventing the take-up of
tablet devices in the workplace.

"Whether it is social media, collaborative working
capabilities or the need for heightened processing power, we're constantly
seeing how technology can transform the way businesses operate," explains
Gavin Parrish, UK & Ireland Commercial Category manager at HP. "We want to
help SMBs make the right decisions for the business and support them during
the tough economic times."

To obtain a free copy of the HP SMB Index report, please
visit: You can also follow us on Twitter at
@HPBizAnswers or on LinkedIn at -

About the SMB Research

The following research was conducted by Vanson Bourne between
December 2010 and January 2011. The 1,000 decision-makers were divided into
four categories: sole traders; 2-10 employees; 10-25 employees; and 26-50

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact
on people, businesses, governments and society. The world's largest
technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing,
personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure to solve
customer problems. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at




Editorial Contacts: Theresa Moss, Edelman, +44(0)20-3047-2324, Theresa.Moss at; Hewlett-Packard, Amen Corner, Cain Road, Bracknell, RG12 1HN, United Kingdom

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