Now that the UK has officially left the EU and we enter a potentially rocky transition period, businesses need to make tough decisions in order to weather the headwinds of 2020 and beyond.
The British Chambers of Commerce predicts that GDP growth will slow to 1% this year – the weakest outturn since 2009 – and that business investment will contract by 0.7%. The pound’s plunge post referendum, has led to more expensive imports, added to running costs for businesses. This means continued challenging times ahead, but Ultimate Finance is ready to support UK’s businesses to ensure they keep moving in the right direction.
Managing a business can often mean making painful decisions in the short term, but maintaining a clear focus on long-term value creation has often proven to be the optimal approach and research shows that it is worth it in the long run. The McKinsey Global Institute found that companies operating with a genuine long-term mindset consistently outperformed their industry peers across a broad range of metrics, such as revenue and profit-growth.
Since becoming CEO at Ultimate Finance last year, I have had to make big decisions about our future direction with the key principle being prioritising our core strengths and specialist areas. This led to us moving away from providing unsecured loans and focusing exclusively on the secured lending market where the quality of our customer service gives us points of differentiation around speed, flexibility and personal touch. This change supports our view that asset-based lending with dedicated personal relationship management is the best option for SMEs to access flexible long-term capital.
We face many of the same challenges as our clients in managing change through periods of tough decision-making, particularly decisions that impact upon jobs. It’s important that all staff are treated with respect during periods of change and it is impossible to communicate too much about the business reasons underpinning decisions. Suspicion among staff is natural, which can be negative in the immediate short term, and trust may have to be rebuilt but this is eminently possible if management approach this in the right way.
Businesses shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help from their wider network. It’s best to have the right people with good experience to provide support through tough times. At Ultimate Finance our forward-thinking approach has allowed us to make changes from a position of strength and define a clear future vision centred around how we can best serve our clients and emphasise our value proposition. As part of the Tavistock Group we benefit from long-term backing which underpins our continued appetite to support businesses through change and focus on disciplined growth and delivery.