BLOG - Is there a better time to grow your business?
David Wright, Investment Manager Greater Manchester Loan Fund
The economic indicators are looking good. The latest update by the ONS reports the economy is now 0.2% ahead of its high point back in April 2008, just before the banking crisis took hold. Also the International Monetary Fund has recently upped its growth forecasts for the UK stating the economy would grow by 3.2% this year, ahead of the 2.8% it previously predicted. Furthermore should the expected growth of 2.7% in 2015 be achieved, Britain will see the fastest expansion of any major advanced economy.
It’s also pleasing to see this growth is not just being driven independently by a buoyant South East recovery. Greater Manchester is now recognised as the largest functional economic area outside of London and results from the latest Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Economic Survey highlight that businesses within the Greater Manchester region are forecasting growth in-line with the IMF’s predictions.
However, despite this growing sense of optimism, there are signs that SMEs continue to remain cautious, with management teams adopting a more conservative mind-set, no doubt the result of some tough lessons learnt over the past 5 years.
Emerging from a recession is also an extremely difficult period for small companies, where they’ve often exhausted cash reserves and liquidity is limited. Though surely for a business to grow and prosper, management must be prepared to invest and make strategic long term adaptations to their business. This can be achieved through diversification of products and services or maybe investment in technology or new routes to market. This investment can drive efficiencies and improve productivity, and both are typical of strategies adopted by some of the businesses the Greater Manchester Loan Fund has invested in to date.
For businesses in the Greater Manchester area that are looking to fulfil their growth ambitions or just beginning to explore what new opportunities may exist, there has arguably never been a better time, given the support that is now available. With Public Sector Funds offering alternative sources of finance and a range of schemes designed to offer mentoring and support on topics that include product innovation, business development and access to finance, is now the right time to invest in your business and grow?
Below is a list of some of the funds and services available to SMEs in Greater Manchester.
Alternative Sources of Funding
Greater Manchester Loan Fund (managed by Maven Capital Partners)
Greater Manchester Investment Fund