A fresh new outlook for a fresh new year

Happy New Year! We do hope everyone had a great Christmas break and are feeling renewed. Whilst we’re sure an over-indulgence of food and drink may not always be the key to reinvigoration, a break from the routine and a chance to step back from day-to-day work and business operations always helps in putting a fresh perspective on things.

So here we are in 2016 – a fresh new year and a potential pool of opportunity just waiting to be dived into. Already, there has been a plethora of predictions about what the year may hold for the economy and businesses, but there is a genuine optimism within this and it certainly does seem that we are continuing on the upward journey out of a precarious economic climate and into a period of sustained growth.

The continued growth and health of the UK economy seems to rely very much on SMEs, which make up more than a staggering 99 per cent of the 5.4 million businesses in the UK. The Government really does need to do everything it can to support SMEs to ensure there is not only funding available for business growth, but that there is an effective infrastructure in place for businesses to scale up – removal of red tape will remove the barriers. However, on the funding front, many businesses are still unaware of the finance options available to them, such as R&D incentives and grant schemes. The Government has set aside £2bn to fund innovation, so firms can invest in the development of new products, software or materials – to name a few. A great opportunity, as it is available even to loss-making businesses. There are also many under-subscribed grant schemes across the UK that business owners can be exploring for ways to take their business to the next level.

Key areas for consideration this year, it seems, will be skills and labour availability and technology. Technology of course is always evolving and becoming an integral part of business operations in all sectors, but the skills shortage across many areas from trade to professional services is an on-going issue and something that may be holding back growth for some firms.

One way to overcome this, in the short term, would be to outsource certain functions or use freelance help – particularly if flexibility is needed in the first stages of growth, and customer demand could fluctuate. Of course, due diligence here in managing any outsourced work effectively, managing expectations on both sides, is key to good results and a happy working relationship.

Whatever 2016 may hold for your business, we are here to help and always at the other end of the phone. We’d like to urge all of our clients to view us as a business partner, to help make this year a success for us all.