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How is 2011 looking for small business?

Reading the December/January issue of Dynamic Business I couldn’t help being drawn to the article on the New Year resolutions of the featured businesses.

It made me reflect on the clients Azure Group has enjoyed working with in 2010, both for their challenges and innovation, but and also got me thinking about what 2011 has in store for small business.

We can safely say that although 2010 was a year of recovery, it wasn’t to the levels anticipated or hoped for by business.  Conditions definitely improved but we have still not reached pre-GFC levels.  The tougher conditions have had a huge impact on the cash position of nearly every business I know, access to credit is still challenging and many still have to operate very leanly.

Moving into 2011 the same market uncertainty will more than likely continue and it will be interesting to see if the lackluster consumer spending picks up over the Christmas period, if not we could be starting the New Year on the back foot.

Technology will also be a big topic for SMEs in 2011. The fast rate of change and new innovations will invite different ways of doing business, greater opportunities and the emergence of new style of businesses and industries.

I am anticipating a significant increase in businesses going up for sale or merging. This will be largely driven by the Baby Boomer generation, who account for 50 per cent of small business owners, retiring.   So succession planning is likely to be on table for many owners and will continue to be a hot topic for 2011.

Moving into a new year is always a time for reflection as well as optimism.  It is a time to re-group and review where you are positioned against your strategies and how overall your business has performed in the first six months of the year.  You now have the chance to put in place plans to bridge any gaps or if exceeding targets decide on new ventures before a well deserved break over the Christmas period.

My advice for 2011 is to remain focused on the profitability of your business and keep your balance sheet strong. Stay in control of your financial position, keep debt at manageable levels and concentrate on delivering value to your customers or clients. If you are planning on expansion, look for ways to grow that won’t require you to outlay too much capital.

Above all else, remain passionate about your business.

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Michael Derin

Michael Derin

Michael Derin is the founder and managing director of accountancy firm <a href="http://www.azuregroup.com.au">Azure Group</a>. Derin is passionate about helping small and medium-sized businesses reach their financial and business objectives and achieve success. He has developed sophisticated ways in which SMEs can compete effectively with larger organisations that have more resources. Each fortnight he can be seen on Sky Business News’ Trading Day program.

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