Entrepreneurs: the British spirit of discovery
A quick online search can often bring up some incredible statistics. Did you know that 80 new UK businesses were born every hour during the course of 2021?
There are currently 5.5 million small business in the country with more than two million people working on a freelance basis. In short, UK PLC is sticking to a long and proud tradition of embracing the entrepreneurial spirit.
But that spirit has certainly faced a fair share of challenges over the past few years. Covid and the current war in Ukraine are having a knock on effect for businesses around the globe.
In these uncertain times, it’s important to have a team on your side. People you can turn to for advice and assistance.
Plymouth based Thrive Financial Solutions and Consultancy is helping businesses across all sectors with the aim of increasing their profitability.
Director Chris Preston heads up a team of three corporate experts. Together, they have a combined experience of 130 years in the finance industry.
Chris spent 35 years working at NatWest, where most recently he was the regional SW Managing Director. In short, he knows his stuff.
He grew up in Devon and has spent his whole career in the south west. He married a farmer’s daughter and has remained closely aligned to the agricultural industry all his working life. His background means he’s the perfect ‘go to’ person for farmers.
As well the consultancy support provided by Thrive, Chris is also a sales’ director for Goodman Corporate Finance which provides ‘whole of market’ access to finance.
Accessibility and approachability
Thrive is centred around accessibility – and approachability. Our meeting sees Chris sporting an open necked blue shirt. He has a calming and relaxed air about him.
‘We always aim to meet clients face to face,’ he says. ‘We talk through their needs, concerns and worries as well as opportunities to grow. Being in business can be challenging and lonely but immensely rewarding.’
‘This approach is now in stark contrast to what we are seeing in the banking sector where face to face meetings are often a thing of the past.’
‘This personal approach is important to us as it was the culture we grew up in. We enjoy meeting people in a face to face environment to get to know them so we can help support them with whatever is on their minds.’
It’s a service which is greatly in demand as the cost of living crisis hits home. In some parts of the UK, fuel has now reached the £2 a litre mark and businesses are feeling the squeeze. Current economics aren’t just affecting these shores. It’s a worldwide phenomenon.
France recently announced a significant aid package for people on modest incomes to try to counter the effects of inflation.
‘The word ‘unprecedented’ is overused but not so for the challenges facing businesses right now.’
‘We may or may not fall into recession but issues around the supply chain, staffing and inflation are new to many in business and should not be underestimated.’
Chris goes on to explain how the team can provide a welcome sounding board and ‘impartial’ view for all levels of businesses – from the long established to new start up.
He’s keen to point out that people who’re struggling shouldn’t ignore their situation (quite the opposite). He advises they discuss what help they need so they can put together a workable plan.
Planning for the future
‘People are often fearful to talk to the bank manager but we can help to represent SMEs so we can prepare and present a plan so they can see it in a positive light. In the past six months we’ve helped many businesses in just that position.’
‘The reason for the current headwinds are irrelevant, the important thing is to recognise early on how they are, or will impact you, and your business, so you can take action to mitigate or control them.’
Notwithstanding the above, Chris remains cautiously optimistic for the future as people learn to adapt to the situations we all face.
He says the business community can be remarkably resilient and resourceful. But his overriding message is simple: if you feel you may need help or advice then the time to take action is now.
‘In all likelihood your most recent trading accounts could be the best ones you will have for a while so use them as a platform to seek the support you may need in the future.’
‘Living and working in the southwest means we should be optimistic. It’s a beautiful part of the country and we should enjoy being here.’
‘There will be an influx of people over the summer and there will be a focus on feeding the nation. There’s an opportunity to diversify and use renewable energy but it’s not going to be easy. We do need to prepare for a tough 2023.’
We’re now coming to the end of our hour long interview and Chris re-emphasises the importance of preparedness.
There’s the old saying of ‘Perfect Planning Prevents Poor Performance’ and working with the Thrive team should allow you to prepare for a lot of eventualities.
‘We put a structure in place so businesses can take time out to look at their personal goals and aspirations as well as those of the business. The personal side of finance can often be forgotten in the cut and thrust of business.’
We finish our chat with Chris joking that people may see them as being a ‘bunch of grey haired old bankers.’ Perhaps. But grey hairs mean experience and experience often results in the gaining of great wisdom.
And it’s that wisdom which will help to guide us all through the current problems we face.