June 21, 2012, by Emma Thorne
Was the Jubilee bad for business?
It was a party atmosphere in many places of the country, but was the extra June bank holiday to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee a cause for celebration among our business community too?
The UK Business Barometer, an internet survey run by the University of Nottingham Institute for Enterprise and Innovation (UNIEI), has quizzed small- and medium-sized companies on the impact that the extra day’s holiday has had on their business.
The response showed that while much of Britain was enjoying the long break, many businesses were left counting the cost. Although almost half (49.2%) believed they would be unaffected, a large proportion (40%) thought it would have a negative impact on their operations. Just one in 10 (10.3%) optimistically thought the event would be good for business.
As a result of the extra bank holiday, 43.7% of businesses were aiming to make up lost output after the event while almost one-third (31.7%) were planning to write off the losses.
Comments from business people showed that many were hoping to limit the damage by building extra preparation into their business planning to cope with the bank holiday.
Pamela Pindar of PBS UK Ltd said: “Prepare and make sure that deadlines are met long before the bank holidays.” Business adviser Chris Greenhill of Greenhill Consulting Limited agreed: “Some have built lost hours into their planning. Some consumer-focussed customers are actually capitalising on it.”
Andrew Bolton of Ultra Sport Europe Ltd was more positive: “The extra bank holiday is a catalyst for the public to spend more money. Only by spending more will the economy start its upward cycle, so giving consumers an extra day to do so must be beneficial.”
Causes of Difficult Business Conditions
Businesses were also asked to list the main difficulties they are currently facing related to market conditions. Reduced sales (49.2%) was the most important followed by increasing costs (43.4%), falling customer numbers (38.5%), and political uncertainty regarding the Euro (37.7%). Business advisers identified the same four main problems.
John Bremner, of Link Technologies Ltd, said: “Our business is based on R&D spend in academic institutions and companies in the life sciences sector. Financial uncertainties and austerity programmes in Europe are affecting long term research planning and commitment to R & D programmes. This is affecting sales.’
David Croydon of Hilltop Consultancy pointed to political influences, saying: “Negative sentiment leads to lack of economic activity, simply because they are more worried about the downside than enthused about the potential upside. …which government policy is directly fuelling.”
Operating over the web, the results of the survey can be rapidly generated and the surveys have software that enables results to be processed and posted on their respective websites immediately they arrived.
More information about the Business Barometer (UKBB) and UK Business Adviser Barometer (UKBAB), including results and analyses, can be found on the web at www.ukbb.ac and www.ukbab.ac Businesses and advisers wishing to contribute as panellists on the project can register via the websites.
The UK Business Barometer has a group on LinkedIn and can be followed on Twitter @UKBB_UoN
More information is available from Dr Louise Scholes on +44 (0)115 846 7782, firstname.lastname@example.org