Businesses expect a rat race

Posted on 25 Jan 2010 by The Manufacturer

Firms are bracing themselves for increased competition post recession and will now concentrate on building up orders, according to a survey of 610 £1m plus turnover businesses by Barclays.

The Connecting Business survey found that 58 per cent of leaders believe competition in their industry is set to increase, including 27 per cent who expect their sector to be ‘much more competitive’. Just 4 per cent who believe the post-recession economy will be ‘much less competitive’ for their business.

However, businesses are optimistic about their prospects despite this increased pressure and 24 per cent plan to hire new staff early this year. A further 46 per cent expect to hire widely again in late 2010/early 2011.

As for priorities, increasing sales is key for 40 per cent, while 35% said they will focused on taking market share. Managing cashflow was cited by 16 per cent.

Nearly half (46%) of business leaders believe consumer demand will not exceed pre-credit crunch levels for the foreseeable future, while more than third (37%) feel the same about business-to-business demand.

Business have remained committed to innovation during the recession though. The pace of innovation has continued as normal for 37 per cent and for 31 per cent.

Ian Stuart, Managing Director at Barclays Corporate, “Innovation today means exploiting healthy economic growth rates abroad while developing an offering able to thrive despite depressed demand at home,” said Ian Stuart, Barclays Corporate managing director. “With confidence returning and growth back on the agenda, 2010 should see UK businesses competing aggressively for market share once more.”

The research was conducted as part of the Barclays Turning the Corner initiative.