A new report reveals SMEs are in a buoyant mood as the year gets underway, which could result in more jobs

Aviva's commercial product manager, David Bruce, is encouraged by the positive vibe among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at the start of 2013.

Aviva's bi-annual SME Pulse study revealed almost half of the entrepreneurs who started up a business in the last two years intend to expand in 2013, epitomising the buoyant national mood following a good 2012 for Britain. This could lead to more employment opportunities in the industry.

"It's promising to see such positive attitudes for the start of the year across the SME market," said Mr Bruce.

"There is a growing focus and importance on the sector in driving economic recovery and this optimism is further substantiated by the number of SMEs predicting ambitious growth plans for 2013. These are the very businesses that are vital and lie at the very heart of Britain's economic recovery."

According to the Pulse survey, nearly two-thirds of SMEs predict average to strong sales in the first half of this year, over double the amount with the same expectation last year.

Companies with 11 to 25 workers were found to be the most optimistic, with almost three-quarters expecting a fruitful start to 2013.

The report showed that 30% of firms have diversified their businesses in the last six months to sustain profitability, almost twice as many as in the same period of 2011. Of those SMEs, 23% plan to do the same in the first half of this year.

The ambitious mood among SMEs has resulted in more optimistic targets, with over two in five firms working on new goals and objectives.

Almost half of SME owners were confident they had met or achieved their goals in 2012, with 43% predicting more lofty business objectives this year.

Elsewhere in the report, over a third of SMEs have aspirations to develop their businesses, while four in five aim to increase revenues.

Over a third are determined to benefit from economies of scale and 27% feel it is the right time to grow. In contrast, more than half of SMEs are happy with the current size of their enterprise.

Copyright Press Association 2013