In terms of launching and growing a successful business, Kent has a lot to offer. The KEiBA scheme is about celebrating your own achievements, but it's also an important way of bringing companies together to learn from one another. The business trends affecting your partners and competitors can all offer valuable information, and it's always worth taking a wider look at the state of play throughout the county.
Here's a quick run-down of some of the findings from the Kent Invicta Chamber's Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 2017.
Close to twice as many survey respondents reported growth in their UK sales.
40% of businesses are exporting, including 79% of manufacturers and 36% of service providers.
Cash flow, a key survival tool for businesses of all sizes, is getting stronger. The percentage of firms reporting weaker cash flow has dropped from Q3's 26% to 21% in Q4.
55% of businesses are expecting improved sales turnover in the coming year.
A promising 35% increased their workforce in Q4.
Forward UK orders have shown slight weakening and forward export orders are looking a little volatile, particularly for manufacturers.
Only 48% of respondents are expecting increased profits in the next 12 months.
Over 80% are having trouble finding candidates with the right skills for the job. Key problem areas include skilled manual/technical and professional/managerial staff.
Things to watch
The main pressure on pricing is coming from cost inflation. 69% of manufacturers, for example, are dealing with more expensive raw materials.
Competition is an increasingly pressing issue for 40% of businesses.
Mounting worries over Brexit and the weaker pound are contributing to the level of uncertainty. 2 in 10 firms report decreasing UK sales and forward orders - but 37% are actually doing better in UK sales. With just over 32% also reporting increased forward orders, the overall trend is still toward modest growth.
So, how do those facts and figures line up with your own experience? The upcoming KEiBA show is a great opportunity to share your thoughts and make your mark among the sharpest minds in Kent's business world. The deadline for entries is Friday the 23rd of February, so the clock's ticking to go toe-to-toe with the best the South-East has to offer. Get your application in today, and we look forward to seeing you at the show.
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