Wednesday, 3 April 2013

The new normal - acceptance rather than optimism.

This article first appeared in Absolute Brighton magazine -  March 2013 

What we are seeing in the market at the moment is a general acceptance that we are living in a changed economic environment. Companies have cut their costs, reduced their staff and revised budgets to take into account a slower economy. These changes have taken their toll over the past two years but it feels that now we are all settling into a new ‘normal’. And companies, including ours, are now looking to maintain and grow their market share from this new base.

So slowly slowly companies are feeling optimistic enough to invest in their future by looking at how they can cost-effectively market themselves to current and new audiences. But there is a caution in the way that this is being done. Budgets are carefully monitored and fixed cost projects seem to be more desirable than open-ended ones. Companies are also looking at their own purchasing and procurement processes to ensure that the very systems that are meant to control costs are not restricting better value purchasing decisions.

We are also finding that clients are looking for a partnership approach – one where we support their in-house resources rather than take everything off-site. They are keen for us to inform their decisions but want their in-house teams to implement, or at least be able to implement some of the work. Their nervousness about the economy is understandably extended to nervousness about taking risks.

Are we seeing green shoots of recovery? I think we are – but at the moment we are having to dig deep to give the shoots the environment they need to grow (sorry about the extended metaphor).

To encourage business growth in Brighton we need to make sure that every small business owner has access to the support they need to ensure they are running their businesses as effectively as possible. A combination of peer-to-peer learning and really good professional support can really change the way a business ‘works’. Business owners themselves should look to develop their networks and to take the time to look at the real value of what they are delivering and who their potential audiences really are. And.. where possible keep the money in the city by using local talent whenever you.

If you'd like to find out more about how Frank! supports Brighton & Hove businesses do get in touch 

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