After an eventful year which seems to have gone in the blink of an eye, it is useful to take a look forward at what the next 12 months holds for us, both personally and for the business community as a whole. 2011 was a steady year for Let’s Go! with one title dropping back, one pushing on and two others consolidating to benefit from organic growth and reduced costs.
The recent Baker Tiley Outlook 2012 survey indicates a fall in national business confidence, with only half of 600 respondents reporting confidence in their own business and business owners in the North having the lowest levels of confidence in their sector and their regions’ economy. One in five respondents expects the economy to dip back into recession in the next 12 months, 38% expect stagnation and only 35% feel positive about their 2012 profits.
For us, 2012 is about expanding our portfolio and improving credit control procedures. The most disappointing and worrying aspect of business over the past year has been the steady increase in debtor days and payment defaults. With the North West now leading the national charts for late payments by some margin it is clearly a problem that more and more local businesses are facing.
The same Baker Tiley survey identified improving internal processes and systems as the top priority for business owners in 2012. 40% of businesses have introduced new risk management procedures this year with the most common controls centred on credit control and implementing and monitoring more stringent risk registers. Other top priorities include the development of new products and services and direct cost cutting.
In something of an ironic twist, taking business from failing competitors was presented as the greatest business opportunity for the coming 12 months (selected by 42% of respondents). The next biggest opportunities are perceived as lowering costs and technological development (24%), which may explain why developing products and services, is considered a crucial part of business strategy for 2012.
At Let’s Go! we began the year with a new publication, Good2Go! a magazine created to address the needs of the teenage community. With youth unemployment on the rise and the growing need for guidance and advice on careers, education and training opportunities, Good2Go! provides the perfect medium for training agencies, education establishments and employers to reach the elusive teenage demographic. We are also inviting teenagers to get involved by contributing to the magazine, to get a feel for the publishing industry and to give the magazine relevant content and audience appeal.
Whatever the outlook for the coming year, we are looking forward to the challenges ahead and we hope that you are too. Wirral remains a great place to do business and we wouldn’t choose to be anywhere else. Thanks to all our contributors to this issue. Your input keeps the magazine relevant and fresh so please continue to send us your items.
Barry Bragg Editor