Don't be Last in the Queue

23 July 2010


It’s been a fairly torrid couple of years in the business community where cash has been a scarcity and confidence has taken quite a battering.

There are enough doom merchants and naysayers around without me joining the heap, so I believe it is well and truly the time to look forward. We need to get out there and show what we can do.

Those businesses that have reacted to the perfect storm that hit us and taken the timely decisions to optimise cash and improve performance will hopefully now be in pretty good shape. Those who haven’t will hopefully still be with us.

But what now lies ahead. The US recovery seems to be slowing, which we need to watch, but there are opportunities on the horizon, not least from the government’s announced austerity measures. The public and private sectors need to work together to identify functions that can be done by private companies to drive out efficiency and save money. So there will be opportunities for all of us in a wide range of sectors ranging from IT to waste. There will be price pressures so we need to get better at what we do, and do it cheaper. But look for the opportunities now.

And while we’re on the subject of getting off our backsides, there’s a volcano about to erupt in the mirth filled world of banking. It was easier to get money out of a Presbyterian Scot (no offence to Presbyterians, Scots or former prime ministers) than it was from the bank. Last year the banks went through a period if internal turmoil and there was little credit available while they worked out their problems.

But there is a refinancing mountain of about £450bn looming here in the UK in the next three years. And there will be a lot of competition for that money so GO EARLY. You need to explain why a share of the debt should be allocated to your company. And the bank will scrutinise business more than ever before, so it’s no longer sufficient to be a good bloke, you need to have an explanation of how you have survived the last three years and what you plan to do next. And if your facility is due to expire in October, call the bank now.

On the bright side, apparently almost half of small businesses believe that there is no point in approaching the bank any more, so there will be more chance for the rest of us. Believe me – they do need to lend money. So don’t be last in the queue.

Stuart Wilkin Writes for Insider
www.insidermedia.com


Posted  23 July 2010

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