Financial Strategy

What can businesses do to reduce the impact of economic changes?

We seem to be operating in an environment of constant flux, and in the wake of the election, we should expect the unexpected as well as those who have planned investment strategies “on pause” whilst the proverbial dust settles.

Data releases in recent weeks from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) coupled with Bank of England decisions certainly can make recent news about the economy confusing. Understanding how this news affects businesses is important, and can reduce anxiety, so let’s break it down.

Growth in the economy

The latest reports show that the economy grew by 0.6% from January to March 2024, which is good news! It is a 0.9% increase from the previous quarter and means the recent recession seems to have reached its end, businesses are generally doing well. However, swings over a short period underscore the necessity for businesses to adapt swiftly to change.

Interest rates and prices

Despite hopes otherwise, the Bank of England decided not to change the official interest rate because of ongoing concerns over inflation.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) declined slightly from 3.4% in February to 3.2% in the 12 months to March 2024, but remains above the Bank’s target of 2%. While inflation is falling, it has not fallen as quickly as hoped earlier in the year.

The delay in reducing the official rate has led to implications for borrowing costs, and this has been seen in the recent uptick in the prices of 2-year and 5-year fixed-rate mortgages.

So, what this means for businesses?

Well, it’s a bit of a mixed bag. The economy is growing, which is generally good for businesses. But, because prices are still going up faster than the Bank of England would like, they’re keeping interest rates the same. This is likely to make borrowing money more expensive.

What businesses can do:

With economic shifts like these, businesses need to stay resilient and agile. Here’s a few things you can do:

Strategic financial planning

Analysing finances, sales, and customer spending patterns can help you recognise trends. You can then work out what to do to head off potential risks or capitalise early on opportunities.

Keep your costs streamlined

Make sure that you’re getting value out of what you pay money out for. Cheapest isn’t necessarily best and cutting costs by switching suppliers doesn’t always make for good business, however it’s often possible to identify areas to save some costs without interrupting your business.

Keep customers happy

Make sure you’re offering good value for money to your customers, so they keep coming back to you. You might look at whether products or services you offer could be enhanced to appeal to more customers. Perhaps a change in pricing strategy could win more customers or be more profitable (not necessarily the same thing!). Or, maybe an adjustment to your customer care might lead to a better experience that builds stronger loyalty.

While recent economic indicators paint a mixed picture, businesses can still thrive by being smart and staying prepared for whatever comes their way.  Small entrepreneurial businesses are particularly good at being agile and navigating stormy seas, so stay focused and informed, and do not let the nonsense of politics cause undue stress.

Stay focused

A strategic plan can help you to keep your business focused on clear objectives through periods of uncertainty. If you don’t have one, or it’s been some time since you last reviewed it, why not ask us about how we can support you?


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