I don’t know about you but we seem to have been here before. The Conservative leader has narrowly survived a confidence vote, we have high and rising inflation, there are assorted strikes, and there seems to be a general feeling of malcontent around.
I have even seen reports that there is some consideration, I do not know how seriously, to bringing back pounds and ounces. You remember, don’t you, there were 16 ounces in a pound, 14 pounds in a stone and 8 stone in a hundredweight. Won’t that be fun. Could we see pounds, shillings and pence making a return? This all seems a bit like misguided nationalism which feeds a certain part of the electorate.
We will all get by. This is not, and never has it ever been, the “end of the world”.
Apart from anything else, periods of turmoil and change, while being uncomfortable for some, are good for others. We have never been afraid of turmoil. It creates opportunities for those looking for them. As Richard Branson once said, opportunities are like buses, there is always another one coming along. Over the next year or two, I expect there will be many potential opportunities waiting to be exploited.
Will Boris still be Prime Minister in a year’s time? I don’t know, but if he isn’t, who will take his place? It was rumoured that Rishi Sunak wanted the job. If he gets it, who will be the new Chancellor? If he does not get it, will he still be Chancellor? What does this mean for the direction of the UK tax system, the rates, allowances, and reliefs? Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty.
I once heard it said that all large organisations are “big and stupid”. Ultimately, they may have more resources than you, but they are slow acts and frequently lack direction or co-ordination. Small businesses and agile and quick to decide and act. They may lack resources, but they are agile and can be quick to act and so can capitalise on opportunities.
But, in a period of turmoil, there will also be casualties which means that you can acquire a failing business, at far less than its value to you. In periods like these, you need to be thinking imaginatively when it comes to finance. The old way where you went to speak to your own bank, might still work, but probably not. There are now a plethora of companies able and willing to lend in these circumstances. We have people who can research the market for you and find a finance package that suits your particular situation. Just get in touch.
You rarely need money in the bank to buy another business, and in many situations, you don’t even need a bank. For example, can you access your pension funds?
The other important principle here is that everything is negotiable. As long as it is legal, there are no rules, and nothing is written in tablets of stone. This is particularly important at the moment. You are unlikely to know what is going on in someone else’s mind or their particular circumstances so “silly” offers can often be accepted. This is going to be a test of your negotiating skills.
So, we live in an uncertain world and an uncertain business landscape. What to do? Well, that is up to you. That is your choice. It is entirely up to you how you react to the situation. You can batten down the hatches, as most of the media seem to suggest, and try to get through it somehow, or you can look for the developing opportunities either in your existing business or in another business. And who occupies No 10, has very little bearing on anything. The tax system has little bearing on anything. Your attitude and willingness to act are everything.
We have seen a lot of new businesses starting up and others that are evolving to fit the new market. Some are very traditional, but others are quite new and innovative. Take, for example, CATCH Highland, a telephone answering facility with a difference operating from Inverness. IRN Security provides entry and security systems but is currently pushing solar powered systems for more remote locations, perfect for this part of Scotland. Goodtread in Alness sells and fits tyres but these days also has a fleet of vans so they can come to you to change your tyres. MYXD grew out of a small chain of bars and restaurants in the Highlands during the pandemic. You can now buy hand made cocktails online and have them delivered to anywhere in the UK. James Dow Office Supplies in Inverness is an old established business but under Andrew Still’s stewardship has moved into the 21st century and now offers office design as well as supplying office furniture and other office essentials at competitive prices.
So what about us, I hear you ask. Well, we are now utilising online accounting solutions to make it easier for us to help our clients with their record keeping and fulfilling their obligations to submit VAT returns etc. Our offices are now largely paperless. We communicate through a dedicated portal in the cloud so that we are less dependent on email and all the issues that brings. And of course, our marketing has also moved on. Not only do we email you every week, but we also post frequently on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. There is no escape!
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Alan E Long
The Long Partnership