How can we maintain the upbeat mood?
With the Olympics and Paralympics now consigned to the memory, it is inevitable that thoughts will soon return to austerity measures and bankers bonuses. In addition, it seems that the unions are up for a fight, so will we see another winter of discontent emerging?
Our Olympic summer was a resounding success for GB both on and off the track; even the sun came out in the end!
So what effect did this have on businesses?
Certainly companies that were directly or indirectly involved with the Olympics did well, but we also heard of retail businesses that suffered due to the lack of non-Olympic tourists or potential customers that were just too preoccupied with Olympic fever.
The reality check therefore, is how we are going to dig ourselves out of this economic mess?
A focus on exports
A significant factor in improving our economic situation will be the ability of British businesses to grow and start exporting.
The government target is to double British exports to £1tr by 2020.
Many SME businesses are nervous about selling their products abroad, particularly outside of traditional European markets. UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), the government’s trade promotion body, is keen to offer support in a number of ways.
It is essential that SME’s venturing into emerging markets such as Brazil, Indochina and Africa, can obtain financial protection through trade credit insurance. The difficulty is that traditional trade credit insurers are not always able to provide cover in these circumstances.
Other options for cover
It is possible to arrange cover via the government-backed export insurance policy, provided by UK Export Finance (in support of UKTI) in the majority of cases, utilising a number of specialist trade credit brokers.
The export policy has been available to brokers for some time, but following discussions, Biba has been successful in obtaining an agreement whereby brokerage will be paid for business introduced.
UK Export Finance recognise the importance of brokers in providing introductions in a similar way to other financial institutions.
At Biba, we feel this is an enormous step forward in helping brokers have these discussions with their SME clients, in the knowledge that trade credit protection is out there, not only for the ‘safe’ locations within Europe, but further afield as well.
This move ensures that brokers can confidently discuss these options with their clients and add value in the process, as well as guarding themselves against competition.
Let’s hope that when the Olympic circus rolls into Rio in 2016, British businesses have got there first!