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British Consumer Confidence Plummets to Lowest Level Since EU Referendum

Consumer confidence in the United Kingdom dropped this month to its lowest level since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, weighed down by worries over rising inflation pressures, a survey released over the weekend showed.

Polling firm YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said consumer morale in the country declined by a whole point to 108.1 this month, the lowest level since July this year.

Pollsters found that British consumers were less optimistic about their household finances over the next 12 months due to worries over inflation, which is expected to rise sharply after the UK formally exits the European Union.

Scoot Corfe, Cebr director, says that looming inflation is slowly being felt in the economy at large and by British consumers.

The YouGov/Cebr survey echoed the findings of a separate survey published by GfK the day before which showed a deterioration in consumers’ sentiment for the coming year.

Sterling has shed more than 10 percent of its value against the greenback since June’s Brexit vote, and while a number of businesses have raised prices to compensate for the weakening currency, many are still holding out price increases until after the highly competitive holiday shopping season.

Contrary to predictions of doom, the British economy has done relatively well. Many economists were expecting worse.

However, a rise in inflation in the next 12 months is particularly worrying as it is likely to weaken the spending power of households, a key economic driver. Household spending power helped the UK recover economically during the financial crisis of 2007 to 2009.

Meanwhile, wages are not expected to keep pace with inflation, says XpertHR, a payroll data company.

The Bank of England (BoE) projects inflation to rise within the next 12 months to 2.7 percent from 1.2 percent.

If you are looking for guidance through these uncertain times, contact Assured FD Services today on 07817 676371. Assured FD Services provide specialist part time FD services to UK businesses, strengthening operating stability and strategising for growth.

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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

Phil Hall 1 Comment

How CFOs Are Changing The Landscape Of Small-to-Medium Sized Businesses and Their Financial Success

Small to medium sized companies operate within a rapidly changing environment. And, due to this rapid changing nature, many are ill-prepared to handle the continuous movement and adaptability, usually the result of a lack of relevant management expertise.

In order for a company to survive and thrive, there must be changes made. A lack of adaptability can almost, inevitably, spell doom for a company.

What Factor Lead To Change Within An Organisation?

A company’s finances are the one factor that leads to a real insight into what is happening within a company. It’s the one factor that can lead to significant changes, both in terms of productivity and strategy.

By knowing what a company’s finances are like, steps can be taken to ensure crises are minimised or avoided altogether, and opportunities are capitalised on.  The company can also focus on management control systems, cash flow forecasts and more, including using this information to effectively communicate its strategies and operation.

The Importance Of CFOs In Work Environments

No company can afford to ignore and work without some type of financial structure, as it is necessary to boost employee and consumer confidence. Both economic climate and operative finance are a complicated but necessary issue for companies. Specialised support and expertise are required to manage challenges most effectively. These specialised professionals are referred to as Chief Financial Officers (CFO).

These specialised professionals provide a non-invasive, flexible and on-site intervention, working for however long they are needed, on a full time, part time or interim basis, to ensure that a company’s financial operations are working efficiently and in compliance with the law. It doesn’t matter how complex the issue is; a CFO utilises their knowledge and expertise to advise management of the best course of action.

A Chief Financial Officer will carefully and strategically review the company’s financials and all of its resources. Many small to medium sized businesses still have family finance and personal assets tied into the business. Therefore, the entire process is multi-faceted, and a strategy will be developed over time to strengthen the business’s position.

Mary Ellen Biery, has offered a summary of a CFOs responsibilities here:

4 Key Functions of a Chief Financial Officer

Book

The primary role of a CFO, of course, is to make sure financial records of the company are in order. “They’ve got to make sure the books are right,” says Brian Hamilton, chairman of Sageworks. “Most CFOs have that covered.”

Share

CFOs should make sure that management has critical decision-making data. In order to provide that forward-looking data, CFOs must develop good forecasts and utilise reliable benchmarking data.

Comply

Every company has compliance issues to address, and the CFO oversees many of them. Filing and paying taxes is one example. CFOs oversee duties related to shareholders, such as issuing dividends, preventing fraud and disclosing financial information.

Assist

The final CFO function that is vital to companies is assisting internal customers – the people in the company, such as operating managers, who need data to determine things like decisions on pricing or the lifetime value of a customer.

Click here to read more…

Adopting the recommendations offered by a full-time or interim CFO can provide solutions to most complex financial problems… even for the most innovative companies.

For the immediate future, CFOs provide a new service that companies can benefit from when it comes to their finances and financial services. The market recognises the value and stability a CFO can bring, increasing business confidence right away.

If you are interested in discovering how you can utilise Assured FD Services, as your interim CFO, to ensure your business’s future stability and growth, call us on 07817 676371, or email us at info@assuredfd.co.uk.

Phil Hall 2 Comments

Business Confidence and Strategy Following The Brexit Vote

There is no doubt that as we continue to steam towards Article 50 and (officially) begin the journey of Brexit, the majority of us with a vested interest in UK business feel a degree of anxiety. With the media spouting their usual negative spin, you can easily understand why.

Business investment and growth is usually led through confidence of the business market and the people within it. So, how have small businesses reacted to the vote and how do they plan on coping with Brexit?

In the following article by Enterprise Nation, you can view the results of a recent study focussing on business confidence following the vote:

 

Small Business Barometer Summer 2016

The authoritative Small Business Barometer report, which polled 800 small companies and consulted dozens more via focus groups, found an astonishing 68% were expecting to swell in the last quarter of 2016, despite acknowledging Brexit uncertainty.

Of those, 59% said they were planning to boost profits by introducing new products or services.

While 36% said they were more confident about the next six months than previously, 24% said confidence remained the same. Of those that were more confident, one fifth put the increased optimism down to organic growth.

View an infographic of the main results here.
Small Business Confidence Infographic 2016

See full post here…

 

The results of this study paint a clear picture of an optimistic UK business landscape. It has highlighted, however, that strategy is at the forefront of their minds. IDF have offered their opinion on the export opportunities they believe small businesses should be considering as part of their strategy:

Why should your small business consider exporting?

Figures released during ‘Exporting is GREAT Week’, highlighted that there are a number of opportunities available for UK SMEs who are considering export.

In total, over 6,000 export opportunities have been showcased at exportingisgreat.gov.uk, since November 2015, equating to 40 new opportunities to export every day, that is one every 36 minutes!

Whilst SMEs account for 99% of all UK businesses, they currently only make up 33% of our total goods exports, begging the question, “Why aren’t more businesses making the most of the opportunities that exporting presents?”

Click here to read the rest of this post…

With the sterling dropping to the lowest levels in decades, exporting goods and services seems like a naturally progressive strategy consideration for any business wanting to strengthen their position.

If you believe you may require advice on business finance and growth strategy to guide you through Brexit, the services of an Interim Finance Director would be a perfect resource.

If you have any concerns about your business’s performance presently and in the future, Assured FD can help. Contact us today.