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2 December 2010
Planning essential for W-shaped recession
niche markets and developing innovate ways of packaging and
rebranding existing products could be two ways to survive and thrive
during a potential W-shaped recession.
That’s the view of businessman Stuart Williams, director at
independent insurance broker and business continuity specialist
Cowens Survival Capability, and Darren Shirlaw, of business
consultancy Shirlaws. Stuart believes that, based on analysis
of previous economic cycles, the economy is heading for a W-shaped
recession and he has developed some tips for businesses to survive.
Stuart said:- “During a boom time, businesses tend to focus on
strategy – acquisitions, recruitment and new products – and forget
the micro aspects such as cost management, efficiency and processes.
Going into a recession, people switch from the macro to the micro
and worry about costs and staff, while forgetting strategy.
During a recession, the smart businesses concentrate on strategy –
and watch out for the micro – right across the economic cycle.
The world is likely to panic at the next market dip, thus creating
big opportunities for the business owner who is confident and secure
of how their business sits in the economic cycle and is preparing
for the next boom.”
Stuart says that coming out of this recession, there are 2 ways of
creating innovation - looking for niche opportunities and stepping
up consolidation. He commented:- “Preparation over the
next 12 to18 months is critical in maximizing the benefits from the
next boom. Businesses need to get their numbers right and take the
time to focus on the ratios, prepare and plan.
They need to ask themselves what is the maximum revenue their
organisation can generate and how many people are needed to maximise
profit. Getting the timing right is crucial, and it’s a wise idea to
match business development stages to the economic phases.” And he added: “In terms of packaging and distribution into
niche markets, you may not need to innovate new products, but you
probably do need to package these lines differently. Freshen up the
brand and then take the products into defined niche markets having
identified customers that want your products.”
Darren Shirlaw, of Shirlaws Corporate Coaching, says that the past
100 years have seen three other periods when markets have fallen by
more than 50% – 1929-1932, 1937-1938, 1974/5 – and that a
W-shaped recovery has also followed such deep recessions.
Darren said:- “Markets tend to move six months ahead of the
economy and if we trace the trend lines backwards, July 2007 was the
turning point, being when the markets started to crash. In GDP terms
we didn’t see the recession until six months later in 2008 when it
also started to show in the economy.
Because the economy always follows the markets, when the markets
jumped from March to September 2009, it was likely the economy would
jump from September 2009 to March 2010. It did and the general
prediction was a return to recovery.
So that brings us to today, recovery hasn’t followed because we are
in a W recovery, finding us in a flat period before the next boom.
Timing in business is critical, but getting there in good shape is
vitally important too. In a W recovery, towards the end of this flat
phase we may see a short dip for about six months after which the
markets will turn around and recover. Pretty much like the previous
March – September dip before going back up again.”
And Darren warns that the flat phase could last anywhere between two
and 10 years. He concludes: “When people see a flat
market, they often believe they can’t do anything about it and their
business also goes into a flat mode. But when the market is flat,
it’s just an average of business performance. In reality, some are
doing well and growing, some are flat and some are in decline.”
Do you think we are heading for a dabble
dip recession or you you think the Unions and some other groups are
talking us into one? Email us your views to:-
Return of the Saints
recent announcement of our Boxing Day clash against near-neighbours
Warrington Wolves, the club can now confirm that St. Helens will
provide the next opposition for the Vikings on Sunday, 23 January
2010 at 3.00pm. Denis Betts and his charges will welcome Royce
Simmons’ new look team in the now traditional Karalius Cup
competition in honour of the late great Vince Karalius, with Saints
keen to retain the trophy they won at the Stobart Stadium last
season when they overcame a spirited home side to take the spoils,
42-26. This game will be the first run out in 2011 for both outfits
and an ideal opportunity for fans to see their clubs’ new signings
in action at ‘home’ ahead of the forthcoming Championship and Super
League seasons. Tickets will be available soon, priced from £12
adults and £6 juniors / concessions. More details to follow...
MERSEYSIDE PEDALS PAST 14% INCREASE IN CYCLING LEVELS
PEDAL power is
on the rise in Merseyside, with cycling levels increasing by 14% in
the past 4 years. The latest monitoring report from Merseyside
Transport Partnership (MTP) shows that, between April 2009 and March
2010, the number of trips made by bike rose for the 2nd year in a
row, increasing by 10%.
The monitoring of cycling levels was first introduced to coincide
with the start of Merseyside’s second Local Transport Plan (LTP2) in
April 2006. This has seen a network of more than 40 automatic
counters being set up across Merseyside, which is supplemented by
At the start of LTP2, MTP set itself a target of increasing cycling
levels by 10% by April 2011. The most recent figures show that
cycling levels have increased by 14.3% since 2006 and mean that MTP
has exceeded its target, a full year ahead of schedule.
The increase in cycling levels has been achieved through a variety
of measures, including improving cycle facilities and the network of
cycle routes, training both adults and children in cycle skills and
bike maintenance, and raising awareness of the benefits of cycling.
Initiatives identified by MTP as being particularly successful in
increasing the number of trips made by bike include:-
TravelWise:- TravelWise is MTP’s targeted behaviour change and
marketing programme. Through initiatives such as the TravelWise
Cycle Challenge, Bike Time led rides and free cycle training and
bike maintenance schemes, TravelWise has reminded people in
Merseyside of the benefits of cycling and provided them with free
cycle maps, advice and support.
Merseyside runs the UK’s largest schools cycle training scheme,
reaching almost 50,000 pupils since 2006.
infrastructure:- Funding has been used to build a greater network
of cycle routes across Merseyside and investment has been made to
enhance cycling facilities on trains and at stations.
Town:- Southport became a Cycling Town in 2008 and was given
funding to invest in projects such as the development of a high
quality cycle network and new cycle hire centres.
Supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the major
initiative focused on working with the local community to encourage
people in Speke to cycle more. Manual cycle counts revealed an
average increase of almost 60% in recorded trips from October 2009
to September 2010.
The Liverpool City Region Cycling Alliance was launched when
Liverpool NHS Primary Care Trust (PCT) and Liverpool City Council
signed a formal agreement setting out their commitments to
increasing cycling levels in the city. The Alliance encourages the
Merseyside local authorities and PCTs to work in partnership with
the private sector, universities and cultural and sporting agencies
to bring renewed commitment to cycling across the area.
Neil Scales, Chair of MTP, is delighted to have exceeded the target
for increasing the number of trips made by bike in Merseyside. He
said:- “Higher levels of children are classified as obese or
overweight in Merseyside than elsewhere in England and Merseyside
also has significantly higher levels of coronary heart disease and
chronic liver disease than the rest of the country.
Cycling is a very simple way of incorporating physical activity into
people’s daily lives and can bring tremendous benefits to health as
part of the 2010 Year of Health and Wellbeing. Increasing cycling
levels in Merseyside will also help cut the area’s carbon output and
benefit the economy, as goods and people are able to move smoothly
around the transport network.
In Merseyside, a high proportion of the journeys that people make
each day are under five miles and can easily be made on bike. We aim
to continue to invest in encouraging people to cycle more often and
for a greater variety of trips and, as the consultation continues on
our third Local Transport Plan (LTP3), there is a clear opportunity
for us to continue to further increase cycling levels.
With more than 50 members already signed up to the Liverpool City
Region Cycling Alliance, I would like to thank these organisations
for their ongoing efforts to increase cycling levels in Merseyside
and would encourage others to get involved.”