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Building back business confidence

Building back business confidence

Picture1 4 - Business ExpressBy Khalid Talukder, Co-founder, DKK Partners

2023 has been a turbulent year seeing interest rate hikes, rampant inflation and supply chain issues knock business confidence as they fight to stay afloat.

The government have been battling to control inflation levels and while recent data from Office for National Statistics highlights that the UK economy stagnated between July and September, this offers a more positive message than what might be taken at first glance.

At the beginning of the year, the UK was heading for recession. While the economy has shown little signs of growth in recent months, avoiding a month-on-month decline highlights that we are doing better than what economists had previously predicted.

The government revealed its Growth Plan towards the back end of 2022 and while consistent growth hasn’t been achieved, businesses can rest happy that the economic outlook may not be so bleak and more stable times are not far away.

Businesses must now focus on the future and prepare themselves for better times ahead, investing in the right technology, such as FinTech technology, that will drive their business forward while contributing the ongoing goal of cementing the UK as a technology Superpower.

A focus on increased trading and promoting international relations will play a key role as the economy builds itself, supported by sectors such as FX and payments that are helping to democratise the finance sector and allowing business to be done more efficiently.

Business confidence

Compared to this time last year, businesses can have increased confidence as we head towards 2024. Their focus should be on building robust business models that are resilient and ready to grow.

While predictions highlight that growth is not expected until 2025, the preparation beforehand will be key. The government are taking action to support the growth agenda, recently announcing skills training with a £200 million investment to help individuals gain necessary skills to allow them to successfully enter key growth industries such as the technology sector.

Skills training will play a vital role as businesses grow and to become a technology Superpower, we need our people to be upskilled and ready to operate emerging technologies that are developing at such a rapid pace.

Small and medium sized businesses act as the engine of the economy and the government must offer them support not just in skill development but by providing increased investment opportunities, rethinking regulations to allow businesses to capitalise upon the post-Brexit freedoms and supporting key industries.

Supporting key industries

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Industries such as the financial services and FinTech sectors should be key focus areas for investors and government. The UK has always been seen as a financial hub, attracting overseas investment and international relations while bringing in significant sources of jobs and tax revenues.

As the financial services industry undergoes substantial digital transformation and digital economies develop worldwide, areas such as electronic payments are becoming increasingly important as a way of democratising financial services, allowing business to be done more efficiently globally.

As the UK rebuilds itself, it is vital we stay ahead of the game and lead the world in developing emerging technologies while focusing on retaining a strong and digitally equipped financial services industry.

Leaning on technology

While businesses must be shown increased support from the government, they must be supported when implementing new and emerging technologies, allowing them to position themselves well to grow, while promoting economic stability.

We live in a technology-fuelled era and focus must be directed towards practical solutions for businesses and in particular, SMEs.

Often, business can be delayed, and supply chain issues caused, as transactions are held back due to lengthy processes. Sudden shifts in exchange rates can often make the cost of doing business internationally high.

Strong international relations and the ability to do trade worldwide will have a dramatic impact on economic growth highlighting why the FinTech industry must be supported to allow financial democratisation to take place.

Businesses in other corners of the globe often do not have access to the same level of financial services as those in the UK and the FinTech industry can help to improve integration across payments systems and access to financial services, allowing for an improved business marketplace worldwide.

The FinTech industry can also assist businesses looking to utilise the mass amount of data at their fingertips. The use of data is a great way to improve planning ahead, understand global trends and generally inform decision making, helping to identify and mobilise new revenue streams.

With the support of the FinTech industry, businesses can better prepare themselves for success as the UK economy stabilises and grows.

Ultimately, businesses must remain confident and continue working to build robust business models. Government support must also be shown not just in the form of skill development and investment, but also towards key industries such as the financial services and FinTech sector that can provide much needed support to SMEs looking to grow.

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