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Optimistic Outlook for Businesses

  • 5th January 2022

A survey of businesses across the UK has revealed that 48% have a positive outlook for the next 12 months.

The survey conducted in conjunction with the UK200Group, of which Forrester Boyd is a member, also asked businesses how they have fared over the last 12 months. 36% stated they performed better whilst 37% had a worse period. The results show quite an equal split reflecting the impacts of the last 12 months but we are starting to see some positivity looking forward.

It has been quite extraordinary how businesses and their employees have adapted to change over the last 12 months. Kevin Hopper, Partner at Forrester Boyd said, “We have seen so much dedication and resilience, not just within the businesses that we serve, but also from our own employees who have continued to deliver an excellent service to our clients throughout all the challenges faced. I really cannot commend them highly enough. They have all been exceptional”.

Mike Beckett, Partner and Chairman at Forrester Boyd shares some of his views on what he sees as the challenges and opportunities for businesses in the Lincolnshire and Humber region.

The next 12 months are going to be challenging for all businesses. Whilst we are seeing positivity across many sectors, we still need to be very mindful of economic pressures. Rising material costs, utility costs and labour costs, particularly with the rise in minimum wage, will have a huge impact on many regional businesses. Add to this rising inflation and a shortage of access to labour, and we still have a bumpy road ahead.

These pressures could see some looking to cut costs in different areas of their business. This in turn could have a knock on impact as price pressures could lead to more competition and the risk of losing customers. We would always recommend to any business that before they look to challenge supplier costs and risk well established and loyal supplier relationships, that they look at ways they could be more efficient.

In feedback from our own annual client survey 30% of respondents stated they are looking to grow their business and increase profitability over the next 12 months. During periods of growth, we work closely with clients to ensure we can advise and assist them. Tax planning is one of those particular areas that can help to increase profitability, which will be important for all businesses, particularly on the back of a rising tax environment.

It is heartening to see that our regional businesses appear to be weathering the storm and succeeding, which is a testament to their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit. We have seen great strength and resilience in our business community which is something I am sure, all businesses will take forward with them.

Looking at some of the key trends we envisage for the next year ‘being greener’ is up there as one of the hottest topics. The environment is something which is important to everyone so businesses who are ahead on this will certainly set themselves well. Acquisitions and consolidation will continue to be a popular route for both business growth and investors. These can provide a great return on investment and can be tax efficient, if done correctly.

Automation is also becoming ever popular. Businesses are really seeing the value in automating their systems and processes with many appearing to be embracing technology, particularly in terms of accounting software and producing real time information. Businesses are also placing more value on their figures. Previously, decisions were based on how much cash they had in the bank and how the business was performing, more as a gut feeling. Recently though we have seen that businesses are not making these decisions without the financial information to support it.

Pre-Covid-19, there was becoming a shift in the way people valued time. People wanted a better home/life balance. Covid-19 has accelerated this somewhat. Businesses are now looking to outsource more tasks to free up time with technology in particular making things more streamlined than ever. I see a big opportunity for businesses who embrace this, not only for their customers, but also for their staff. This in turn should benefit business in terms of staff retention and attracting new recruits which is currently a very challenging environment.

The next 12 months will be very interesting. There are plenty of opportunities out there for businesses to play to their strengths, exploit their niches and grow their business. They just need to embrace the change, adapt to the environment where they can and trust in their abilities. We have some amazing businesses and entrepreneurs on our doorsteps, and by supporting and helping each other, we will all benefit in the long run.

Written by: Mike Beckett

Any news or resources within this section should not be relied upon with regards to figures or data referred to as legislative and policy changes may have occurred.