Employment law specialists Citation Plc ( http://www.citation.co.uk ), based in Wilmslow in the North West of England, surveyed its 6,500 customers to uncover what Small to Medium sized Enterprises thought would be their biggest challenges of next year.
While 80% of respondents said they were optimistic about opportunities in the next 12 months, 79% said the government could do more to help.
Citation chief executive Lindsay Hill said: "It is not all doom and gloom going into 2012 and it was encouraging to see many of those surveyed feeling optimistic about opportunities in 2012.
"Government funding initiatives for SMEs are due to come in during the year, which should help some grow their business.
"Moreover, those SMEs which have adjusted through tough times and survived with leaner budgets will only be stronger going in to 2012."
The lack of support from banks was another key issue raised by respondents, including a lack of willingness to lend or extend loan repayment periods and overdraft facilities.
Mr Hill said: "The banks quite simply need to understand SME businesses better and employ advisers who can adopt a common sense approach to lending, rather than a one-size-fits-
The Citation survey comes after a report by insurance giant RSA found 12 per cent of SMEs had experienced difficulties securing finance in the last year, rising to 15 per cent in the manufacturing sector.
Firms said they were increasingly looking to equity investors to fill the void left by traditional lenders.
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