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UK manufacturing soars to 30-month high on strong domestic and overseas demand

United Kingdom’s manufacturing sector closed 2016 with a bang, hitting a two-and-a-half-year high in December, an industry survey revealed.

The Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index (PMI) went up to 56.1 last month from 53.6 in November. Industry players monitor the seasonally-revised index for signs of expansion or contraction in the manufacturing sector. When the index is at 50 or higher, that means the sector is expanding. Conversely, any figure below 50 indicates contraction.

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UK manufacturing production and new business rose last month, with new export business growing for seven straight months, as British manufacturers reported increased orders from major markets including China, Europe, U.S., and the Middle East.

Not only was last month’s PMI reading the highest in 30 months, it was also the fastest in terms of growth rate for both production and new orders in nearly three years.

The December survey attributes the rise of the index to robust demand from abroad, which was boosted by the weaker pound. The British currency has fallen sharply against rival currencies in the past year, making UK products more affordable for overseas buyers.

The weakened sterling, however, is proving to be a mixed blessing for the sector.  While the pound helped boost the country’s manufacturing sector get off to a strong start this year, cost for British manufacturers remain high due to reduced importing power, the Markit/CIPS survey found.

The weakness of the British currency has nudged the price of imported goods higher, which has translated to higher costs for a number of manufacturers.

The survey noted that price pressures continued to be at elevated levels in December, with inflation for input costs and output charges remaining among the fastest in the survey’s history.

To negate the higher input costs, some manufacturers have started to pass on the burden to their clients by increasing their selling prices, with prices consistently rising over the last eight months.

Some analysts expect these higher costs to push the inflation up in the coming months.

If you are a UK business within the Manufacturing sector looking to boost your company finances, a Part Time FD can provide the direction and financial guidance you need to ensure maximum success. Contact Assured FD Services today to see how we can help.

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Why Businesses Are Still Considering Exporting

 

Following on from our previous article “Thinking Of Expanding Your Business?“, as more and more businesses are focussing on strengthening their future growth strategies, one very apparent but often overlooked scheme is exporting goods and services overseas. Most are put off by their perception of the complexity and scale of such a project, however with the right direction and determination, huge opportunities exist.

In the following article, Ben Lobel details the emergence of business expansion overseas back in 2015.

By 2025, 880,000 (17 per cent) British small businesses plan to expand overseas – an increase from the 10.8 per cent of small businesses currently taking advantage of additional export revenues.

In 2015 Annual Business Survey figures show that a third of medium-sized businesses and 41 per cent of large businesses currently take advantage of export growth. Small businesses should work with industry bodies like the UKTI to see what opportunities exist and get advice on how to grow their business overseas. Click here to read more.

So how do we feel now as we approach 2017? As we discussed in our previous article “Business Confidence and Strategy Following The Brexit Vote” even with an uncertain European relationship, it seems exporting goods and services still remains an option considered for business growth. Praseeda Nair offers her thoughts on why this might be and the benefits of looking overseas.

A little international expansion goes a long way for a growing business. For starters, it provides a great deal of flexibility about how you present your organisation. Fourth Day, for example, has five offices across four different countries, which makes us sound quite large. Every office, however, contains fewer than ten people, which makes us seem quite small. It’s the best of both worlds – an international team that is nonetheless sufficiently close knit that everyone knows everyone else.

Secondly, as a service-based company, we’ve found that more than one office is a big help in terms of balancing our income and workload. This is particularly true of our Manchester and London offices, where spare capacity in one place can easily be used by the other. Internationally, we have had the opportunity to secure business across borders and to make referrals between offices. In our case, we have found that our European offering can be attractive for US companies venturing into Europe.We’ve expanded slowly but steadily over the past 14 years and have learned a few things that might be helpful if you’re considering taking the plunge into a new territory. Click here to read more…

The growing popularity and success stories show that exporting can be a hugely lucrative opportunity, if implemented correctly.

If you are a UK business contemplating overseas expansion, a Part Time FD can provide the direction and financial guidance you need to ensure maximum success. Contact Assured FD Services today to see how we can help.

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Thinking Of Expanding Your Business?

Once a business is established and making a profit on the products and services sold, it is only natural for a business owner to begin thinking how to manage and bolster growth. It can be an exciting but challenging time – protecting what you already and building upon that with minimal disruption to it is the key to successful expansion. It is also important to remember that there will be areas of opportunity to reduce costs and increase margins as a business develops, so capitalising on these will be key to maximising your success.

It is important to understand the types of business growth and the methods you may wish adopt to achieve it. It is in the interest of the government is encourage and provide support for business growth, as it benefits the economy overall, therefore they themselves have offered an overview and guidance on the topic. The following article can be found on the government website.

Growing your business

Once your business is established and you’re making a profit on the products and services you sell to customers, you may want to start thinking about how to grow.

Many businesses think of growth in terms of increased sales, but it’s also important to focus on how to maintain or improve your profitability.Things you can do to help grow your business include:

  • looking into ways of increasing your sales, both to existing customers and new customers
  • improving your products and services by researching and testing changes with your customers
  • developing new products and services, and selling them to new or existing markets
  • taking on staff or training your current staff, including working with apprentices and mentors
  • looking for additional sources of funding, such as bringing in new investors
  • thinking about selling your products or services online
  • work with a business mentor, who can help you think about how to do all of these things

You can find more information here.

In the following article, Sarah Willingham, owner of MizMoz, Craft Gin Club and MySupermarket, offers her insight from her personal experiences of business growth, and how to best approach the challenges of expansion.

Ready or not: what to do about expansion

Achieving success is front of mind for entrepreneurs when embarking on a new business venture. The initial stages can often be expensive and time-consuming, and business owners naturally want to see that the investment they are making will have a quick return.

Often, it is the idea of expansion that business owners find particularly challenging to navigate. To help with this process, I’ve developed a series of tips to help entrepreneurs recognise when the time is right to move into the next phase of their journey and overcome the barriers to growth to reach their full potential.

Expansion means different things to different businesses. For some it would be adding another shop to a chain, for others it might be starting to operate online. Whatever the goal, it often doesn’t come cheap, and therefore getting help from investors could be key to your success. To get new investors on board, you need to articulate three things: who the business is aimed at, why consumers would buy from it, and why you, as the business owner, are the person to make it work.

Often, it is the idea of expansion that business owners find particularly challenging to navigate. To help with this process, I’ve developed a series of tips to help entrepreneurs recognise when the time is right to move into the next phase of their journey and overcome the barriers to growth to reach their full potential.

To read the full article click here.

Sarah has offered some helpful information relating to her own personal journey of business expansion. Experience in priceless is these situations, so you should surround yourself with the right people and the right advice. You could even consider the services of an interim FD to guide you through the process.

If you are a UK business looking to grow, but are a little unsure about funding options, the government offers grants and loans to those who meet a certain criteria. You can click here to find out what funding schemes you may be eligible for, but I would also suggest contacting your local expert.

I would like to finish out with a summary made by Sarah Willingham.

Ultimately, in every aspect of success – from setting up, to growth, to ongoing innovation – the most important advice I can give is to listen to your customer. Find out what works best for them, and how you can meet their needs. There is no substitute for loyal, engaged customers who feel valued. Then prove your commitment by adapting your business. Only by getting the basics right first, and always keeping customers front and centre, can businesses achieve lasting growth and take that next step