Wednesday, January 20, 2021

2021 Business Predictions: Rick Smith, MD of Forbes Burton

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead. 

It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.

Here we speak to Rick Smith, Managing Director of Forbes Burton.

2020 has been a busy, yet difficult year for the insolvency and business recovery industry. While the year was fairly static for us, with no dramatic rise or fall in businesses, we have been able to stay in good standing by re-aligning our services and focusing on our consulting work and investing more heavily in our marketing.

There can be no doubt that the industry that we are in, insolvency and business recovery, has been massively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. While there is usually a steady stream of businesses falling into insolvency, many were saved by the Chancellor’s financial support packages. Surprisingly, there has been a 39% reduction in the number of corporate insolvencies this year.

Regardless, we’re expecting 2021 to be busy. All those businesses which would have failed naturally but have been kept afloat will most likely fail again as soon as the government support packages are lifted. That will produce a busy time for us and is one we’re already preparing for.

We can also expect an increase in insolvencies as the furlough scheme ends in April. The challenges ahead are many and varied.

Brexit will also undoubtedly play its part in business problems in 2021. We would advise any business owners or directors who suspect that they may face difficulty to start working on how they are going to fix the problems now.

Brexit will have both positive and negative implications, some of which will be wide-reaching. Businesses will face difficulties depending on trade agreements and how they do business with the EU. However, there are also opportunities to be had in the new trade agreements which are being drawn up outside the EU.

Whatever 2021 throws at us, we’re prepared to meet it head-on.

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