Businesses pursuing growth despite economic headwinds - Lloyds

16 August 2022

West Midlands firms are still looking to pursue growth and move into new markets despite the economic uncertainty ahead, according to a commercial banking expert.

But Dave Atkinson (pictured), regional director for the Midlands at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, warns that businesses must remain alert to “potential headwinds”.

Business Barometer data from Lloyds Bank revealed that 53 per cent of firms in the West Midlands are continuing to pursue growth.

And others across the region are working closely with their customers and suppliers to strengthen their prospects.

Mr Atkinson said: “It’s certainly a challenging time for businesses. However, last week’s forecasts from the Bank of England are unlikely to have come as a surprise to most of the region’s businesses.

“Many are familiar with facing economic headwinds, and this experience is helping breed resilience.

“Our latest Business Barometer data revealed that the West Midlands’ businesses were the second most confident in the UK. East Midlands confidence was lower, but still remained in positive territory.

“This optimism is potentially down to the way firms are approaching the challenges, with the survey revealing that nearly half (53 per cent) of firms in the West Midlands are looking to move into new markets to help pursue growth, while 46 per cent of businesses in the East Midlands are looking to evolve their offering with new products or services.

“Meanwhile, many that I’ve spoken to are working more closely with their customers and suppliers to help strengthen bonds and business prospects.

However, Mr Atkinson warned: “But these are uncertain times and successful businesses will need to continue to stay alert to future headwinds.

“Keeping a close eye on working capital is a strong way of mitigating these challenges, while conserving cash, finding ways to reduce costs, and being competitive on price should be a priority for the region’s business leaders.

There are also a number of funding options available to make sure that fluctuating demand doesn’t have a damaging impact on their cashflow. 

“Financial products such as arranged overdrafts and corporate credit cards can help to prevent pressure points forming in firms’ operations.

“And for larger companies, or those with long-term cashflow requirements, tools like invoice finance and asset-based lending can be invaluable finance solutions.

“It is always difficult to predict how well any business will perform, but working closely with trading partners, actively monitoring cashflow, and making the most of the financial tools available will help Midlands businesses deal with economic challenges.”

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