Even though just 62% of SMEs continued to trade after the three years of initial start-up, two thirds have improved their turnover, profitability and staff numbers.
Kingston Smith interviewed 1,000 small businesses and found more than two thirds consider developing and selling new products and services to both new and existing customers as important.
It also found 60% of SMEs currently export to both the EU and the rest of the world.
Respondents said the most important sources for generating new sales are selling existing products and services, rather than developing new ones.
The majority (85%) of respondents said the best ways to win new business are actively managing existing customer relationships and identifying and building relationships with potential customers.
Only half of the businesses believe they are successful at face-to-face networking, even though this is the highest rated method of building contacts and boosting relationships.
The report also said that having an effective business website and proactively using social media are other good methods.
Paul Samrah, partner at Kingston Smith, said, “Much of the improved business performance can be attributed to a solid economic base with SMEs demonstrating tenacity, drive and commitment to finding ways of winning business.
“SMEs must be given all the necessary financial and regulatory support required to continue their growth trajectory.”