Fastest 50 businesses face growing pains
9th September, 2015
FAST-growing companies in the North East face a number of common issues as they continue to expand their businesses, according to the organisers of the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards.
Skills shortages, connectivity and increasing regulation are amongst the challenges faced by the companies who will feature in this year’s awards for fast-growing North East businesses, organised by leading law firm Ward Hadaway.
Colin Hewitt, Partner and Head of Commercial at Ward Hadaway, says that while business success and expansion brings rewards and accolades, it also creates issues which need to be addressed to ensure that businesses continue to grow.
He made his comments as the countdown continues to the 2015 Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards, which recognise and celebrate the achievements of private companies in the North East who have shown the greatest growth in turnover.
Colin explained: “Companies need to overcome a lot of obstacles when starting out, but issues don’t go away just because a business is successful and is growing at a rapid rate.
“Whilst rising turnover and increasing profits are naturally what businesses aim for, a company’s expansion can create its own problems and brings with it new challenges.
“We are lucky enough to work with many of the region’s fast-growing businesses on a daily basis and while every company is different, they do face some common issues.
“Skills shortages are a real issue in many companies at the moment. Getting the right people in to do the job required remains difficult for North East businesses in a range of sectors.
“There is of course some terrific work being done in the region’s schools, colleges and universities to help close the skills gap and there are an increasing number of apprentices but skills will be a challenge to overcome for some years to come.
“Connectivity of various kinds is also an issue for North East companies – whilst high speed internet access is generally good in our urban areas, coverage in rural areas of the region is patchy at best. With e-commerce and social media providing ideal routes to market and a strong on-line presence being vital to enable many businesses to scale up in a short space of time, being better connected to the web is very important.
“In addition, we would certainly like to see a greater investment in transport, both road and rail and there is a real concern at the moment, that transport spending seems to halt at the M62 corridor. Better transport connections will help companies get to market quicker and will also help to attract businesses from outside to locate in the region.”
Whilst such problems are often dependent on outside agencies for their solutions, other issues can be addressed with the help of local advisors.
Colin explained: “Since the recession, companies have had to look for new markets and new opportunities and this has resulted in an increasing interest in overseas markets.
“Whilst there is some uncertainty in sectors such as oil and gas, in economies such as China and Brazil and geopolitical issues such as in the Middle East, many growing companies are still looking to broader global opportunities to help them expand.
“Companies need help and support when trading overseas because it is very different to trading with local businesses and the legal, financial and practical challenges can be significant, however the rewards can be substantial.
“For all growing companies, there is also an increasing regulatory burden, not just from Europe but also from the UK introducing things like the Bribery Act, the Modern Slavery Act, the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act , Consumer Rights Act, Export control compulsory workplace pensions and the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme.
“Many of these regulations tend to start off affecting larger business but their effects soon filter down to smaller companies and if a company is growing quickly, it will encounter the challenges sooner rather than later.
“In these scenarios, getting the right advice on how to comply with regulations without sacrificing your competitive advantage can be crucial to a company’s continuing success.”
The success of the North East’s fastest growing companies is at the heart of the Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 Awards.
An A-Z list of the region’s 50 fastest growing businesses will be published later this month with the awards event taking place in October at which awards will be presented to the fastest growing small, medium-sized and large businesses with one of these being crowned the overall fastest growing business in the North East for 2015.
Colin Hewitt said: “We are getting ever closer to unveiling the list of this year’s Ward Hadaway Fastest 50 and it promises to make fascinating reading as we reveal which companies have done the most to conquer the challenges of growing a business successfully and profitably.”
* Find out more about the Fastest 50 Awards.
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