2012 - Another Difficult Year ?
The Western Mail's 'Business in Wales' supplement on 8th February 2012 reported that according to a NatWest study, 50% of Welsh Small to Medium-sized firms (SMEs) see survival as their biggest challenge in 2012. Interestingly, Scottish SMEs at 58% and Northern Irish SMEs at 54% were even more pessimistic.
The survey comes at a time when there is increasing evidence that the UK is facing a double-dip recession. According to the Welsh companies surveyed:
According to those companies surveyed in Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham and Aberystwyth, not a single one saw opportunities coming from the Olympic Games.
In response to the report, the Federation of Small Businesses commented that their own research had showed that "businesses in Wales are still diversifying, innovating and improving. In the face of obvious adversity, many are still looking to grow and expand."
An additional survey of Federation of Small Businesses' members, the "Voice of Small Business" survey reported in The Western Mail on 22nd February suggested that 56% of Welsh Businesses trying to achieve growth achieved a growth in sales. Meanwhile, 66% of Welsh Businesses have introduced a new or improved product or service over the last 12 months (compared to 53% in 2009). The principal reason for FSB members to apply for financial support is cash flow while 30% of companies see Competition in their market as a barrier or obstacle to success.
SimWay Business Solutions recognise that many areas of business support and advice are provided at little or no cost, thanks to the generous support of Welsh Government and local authorities - hence our focus on providing a specialist change and performance improvement solutions service to help businesses to survive and grow after the initial business start up support runs out. Interestingly, the FSB asked their members what they thought of Local Authority support for businesses - the response being that just 3% said that they were very satisfied with such services and 14% were quite satisfied. However, 18% said that they were quite dissatisfied and 17% were very dissatisfied.
Shortage of Skills was again reported in the FSB Survey as a big issue for businesses in Wales - 22% of respondents stated that this was a barrier or obstable to their success (15% of which reported marketing as a particular problem - although in our experience, identifying 'route to market' is a particular problem that we can and have helped our clients with).
We can help......Coming soon will be the first of a series of Business Support and Training events being run by SimWay in South East Wales......SimWay Business Solutions specialises in helping organisations to implement and manage change successfully - whether that be in launching new products, entering new markets, expanding their operations or becoming more efficient. Call us on 01600 729180 to find out how SimWay can help your business today.