Now 2013 is in full swing, we can not only review what went on in 2012 but also look forwards to a few predictions for the coming year. 2012 was definitely an up and down one for a huge number of small businesses, with some really struggling but others making the most of opportunities and achieving good growth. By looking forwards, you can make sure you’re prepared for a few of the things that could impact your business in 2013.
Small business growth holds the key to getting the economy back on firmer footing, and the government has acknowledged this again and again. Despite all this, the initiatives that have been put into action have been far from impressive in 2012 – indeed, Funding for Lending seemed to benefit big business maybe more than small.
Some bad news for 2013 is that banks are still unlikely to release their tight grip on lending criteria for small businesses. Again, this is in spite of 35 banks and building societies signing up to Funding for Lending, specifically designed to make lending to small businesses more attractive for them. One key bit of advice, therefore, is for small businesses to research their alternative funding options, whether that’s invoice finance, crowd funding or something else entirely – so long as you can find financing that suits your business, that’s what matters.
If your business has just about survived 2012 by paying off the interest on your loans, then you will still be hanging on so long as interest rates stay low. Ongoing economic uncertainty means it’s hard to predict when interest rates will eventually rise, and it’s therefore hard to plan for the future – if this is the case for your business, it could be time to get some professional help with your finances.
One worrying trend that looks likely to continue is large companies building up cash reserves in order to bolster balance sheets and impress shareholders – the knock on from this is that small companies are being kept waiting for invoice payment. This is unlikely to change in 2013 or any time soon – if your business is being hit hard by this, invoice factoring is one funding solution that can help by releasing money tied up in unpaid invoices within 24 hours.
So, it’s a mixed bag for 2013 – there are sure to be more government initiatives aimed at improving life for SMEs, but it looks like it will continue to be a struggle to survive in the UK’s small business community.