Strong management will see businesses through 2012

 

The next 12-months will be another challenge for owner-managed business, but we all felt that way at the beginning of 2011 and 2010 and most businesses have survived.

 

People still talk about possible ‘economic Armageddon’ scenarios, but we appeared to avoid the worst in 2008 and 2009 and the UK is in much better shape financially now than it was back then, thanks to measures to reduce the deficit and recapitlise the banks.

 

It’s clear from how hard European governments are working to deal with the Eurozone problems that economic stability is being taken seriously.

 

In terms of how this affects owner managed businesses, they are obviously under a lot of pressure from rising inflation and high fuel costs, but I expect inflation to fall back in 2012 which should help employers to manage employee pay expectations. Securing finance is also still an issue for some businesses, but again there are signs that this is beginning to ease.

There are still opportunities for businesses, particularly those with a niche product or offering, and SMEs need to be looking for new markets. Exports are a good way to increase turnover and there are emerging opportunities abroad.

 

It is important that businesses look at these opportunities wherever possible, obviously after taking the right advice.

 

I’m aware of a number of clients that are doing particularly well, usually they are businesses with strong management teams and they are watching costs and using up-to-date management information to inform decisions.

 

The advice we are giving to all businesses is to monitor costs closely and keep a very close eye on debtors to help with cashflow.

 

Damian Walmsley, partner, Moore and Smalley