Thousands of business leaders from around the region met at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol on Wednesday for the ninth Business Showcase South West. Ultimate Finance had the pleasure of attending to host a seminar on SME business resilience.
Adrian Stalley, a former business owner and Head of Partnerships, spoke to a crowded room about the increasing complexity of the UK SME landscape. During the seminar, entitled Building Business Resilience, Adrian talked about how a business can prepare for the challenges ahead and shared findings from Ultimate Finance’s research into achieving true resilience. He spoke from his own experiences of dealing with unexpected events and explored how personal and business resilience go hand in hand.
Also speaking at the event were Emma Jones MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation and StartUp Britain; serial entrepreneur Sir Rob McCabe; Mark Berrisford-Smith, Head of Economics for HSBC UK Commercial Banking and Mark Wright, successful winner of The Apprentice and founder of one of the UK’s fastest growing digital marketing agencies, Climb Online.
Speaking after the event, Adrian said: “Resilience is the ability to plan for the worst-case scenario and capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. This is something that all businesses, no matter what size or sector, require. From the responses in the room, it was clear that what our clients are telling us is reflected right across the region. In short, SMEs are facing so many challenges - Brexit uncertainty, late payments, skill shortages, regulatory compliance and cashflow difficulties to name just a few.
“There was real appetite in the room to hear about concrete steps that can be taken to overcome these issues. One local business owner commented afterwards that she was encouraged to hear our view that business resilience should be nurtured and can be boosted.
While resilience is complex and multifaceted, Adrian’s seminar sought to show how developing emotional intelligence, fostering wellbeing and having good financial health are key to overall business resilience. Adrian explored how difficult it can be to talk about financial matters and how essential it is for SMEs to surround themselves with the right partners that can support them in achieving a stable cashflow – a constant challenge for many SMEs.
Adrian adds: “Building a support network can have a big positive impact on financial resilience. Asking for help is not a weakness, but a sign of resilience. After all, nobody looks down on somebody for taking out a mortgage when buying a property. Most businesses we work with are far from struggling, they’re businesses that are hungry to do more. Accessing the right funding can ensure they are well placed to manage volatility and seize growth opportunities.
“It was fantastic to address the Business South West Showcase, and to meet SME owners from around the region. The success of the South West economy is in part down to the motivated and passionate professionals we met at the event. We are proud to be a partner to so many SMEs who are poised to take their success to the next level.”