Tuesdays are my dermatology days. I either go to Abbey House in Morley or The Animal Medical Centre in Manchester. However, this Tuesday was different as I had been invited by my Lloyds TSB manager, Peter Smallwood, to a breakfast meeting at Haydock racecourse for small businesses. So it was an unusually early start for me on a Tuesday.
Leigh Taylor is the area director for the north west for Lloyds TSB. He came up with some interesting statistics. 50% of the UK’s turnover comes from small businesses. I thought this was a phenomenal number. He stressed that Lloyds had increased their borrowing over the last 12 months by 4% against a backdrop of -4% nationally. However, to get a loan it is important for the small business to plan properly with a business plan being key. He suggested taking professional advice if necessary. Lenders looked at three factors: liquidity, profitability and solvency.
There were also sessions on the Olympic 2012 legacy and sustainability. Glen McGill suggested using the REDUCE acronym to save energy bills which have risen seven times faster than average income since 2004. As Tim Smit, founder of the Eden Project, said, “Sustainability is not about sandals and nut cutlets but about sound business practice and citizenship values of the future.
Finally David Page, one of the economists at Lloyds TSB gave me some food for thought for the next few years. He felt that the sun was beginning to break through the fog of uncertainty. Employment was up in the UK market but the quality of jobs were not as good and productivity was down. Lending was improving but the UK was being affected by the ongoing Eurozone crisis where 40%of our exports go. However, the US economy seems much stronger and is expected to grow by 2.5% next year.
He finished by saying there was cautious optimism for a subdued recovery- not quite the right time to break out the champers but hopefully we have turned the corner. Happy to receive any comments on this blog post.