Happy New Year!

Big Ben New Year

This is my opportunity to wish everyone a Happy and Prosperous 2011. If you are in London enjoy the fireworks tonight!

However, with VAT and fuel price rises, Government cuts and Eurozone debt crises already scheduled it hardly seems set to be a year to remember!

On a business front many clients are finding life tough, new work is harder to win, customers slower to pay and banks even less willing to lend.

On the other hand we have some clients who are forging ahead, growing strongly, still making money.

What makes the difference?

Firstly, we live in an age of blisteringly fast change. Some industries and businesses are shrinking and dying, killed off by advances in technology. Long established institutions like printed newspapers are dying. ( I will be so sad – I love my newpaper at breakfast!) More recent inventions such as fax machines are fading out. Even email is no longer regularly used by the younger generation.

But for every dying product or service new ones pop up. Businesses which spot these new opportunities and exploit them are growing and successful.

Secondly, in a recession, cash is king. Those businesses who were on top of their cash control in the good years are generally still OK. Those who really struggle are the ones who borrowed in the good times with no clear idea of how it would be repaid except out of continued good times (bit like our Government really…). The message is clear. Any business which wants to succeed has to do so from a position of financial strength.

Thirdly, leadership matters. It’s not easy running a business. I reckon the Government should cut a lot more slack for businesses if they want them to grow. If your business is not growing then maybe now is the time to look at your own strategic skills. Are you inspirational? Do you have a vision for 2011 which is clearly defined?

For me, I need to set goals for 2011.

What are yours?