Resilience will be vital in these uncertain times

As we move into 2022 there is no getting away from the uncertainty that surrounds us all. It is little wonder that businesses in Lancashire have approached the start of the year with some trepidation.

Covid is still having a massive impact, the shocks of Brexit are still with many of them, recruitment remains a major challenge, as do rising inflation and ongoing supply chain issues.

Some have increased their debt levels during the pandemic, including taking advantage of support schemes launched by the government during the pandemic. Repayments are now starting to be made at a time when overall costs are rising.

You don’t have to look too far down the line to see further difficulties ahead. In April the national living wage will rise by 6.6 per cent. National Insurance contributions and dividend taxes will also increase in the spring.

Rising costs, weakening consumer confidence, the spectre of further shocks from the pandemic - little wonder SME champions are calling for more to be done to support smaller firms.

It is worth stressing that there are important measures they can take themselves to help them withstand the storms. For one thing it is vitally important that businesses keep a close eye on their cashflow.

Forward planning and forecasting are also crucial. Keep on top of all your numbers and update your business plan regularly, to make sure that it is sound, and it remains relevant.

If there’s one thing that the pandemic has shown, it is the resilience and ingenuity of Lancashire’s SMEs. That resilience will once again be put to test in 2022 but we remain confident that once again they will rise to the challenge.

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