One of the collective community’s chairs — former investment banker turned finance non-executive director Steve White — said that now is the time for businesses to prepare for their next growth phase.
“I know a lot of people are feeling that times are tough, but good follows bad and businesses that are ready to take advantage of opportunities will succeed,” he said.
“This is the time for businesses to prepare for the worst and anticipate the best.”
As such, Mr White urged business owners to ready their plans and “be patient”.
“If we see the US and China come to a trade agreement, and some stable politics in the US, there’s every reason to be optimistic and expect continued strength in global equity markets,” he said.
“We are in a very low interest rate environment, with stagnant wages and low growth, and it looks like these conditions will continue for some time.”
Such conditions, Mr White suggested, are ripe for businesses to be reinvesting their profits and contemplating growth strategies.
He said that curbing debt levels, strengthening the business’s cash flow position and considering whether to acquire struggling competitors are “a recipe for growth”.
“There are small businesses out there that know what to do but need coaching to maintain the discipline and stay on track,” he said.
“There are others that need a big mind shift to see what’s ahead of them. It’s really important to keep it simple and be prepared to take the decisions needed without over-complicating things.”
Mr White added: “It’s OK to be conservative, but they need to be ready to pounce on opportunities.
“[SMEs] should be reviewing the competitor landscape and looking at opportunities to merge or acquire to improve returns”
But rather than race in to take advantage of the doom and gloom, Mr White stressed the importance of adequate preparation and planning.
“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of being prepared,” he said.