finance

Short-termism threatens entrepreneurial growth in Scotland



New research has revealed that 70% of Scottish businesses are only planning nine months ahead, despite ambitions to launch new products and services and ongoing investments in research and development.

A survey by accountancy firm BDO of 500 entrepreneurial businesses found that domestic growth, alongside expansion into international markets, is a focus in 2022. Yet 21% of companies recognise that a lack of strategic planning will mean they’re unable to develop and launch new products or services.

Around two fifths of the companies surveyed are only planning six months ahead, which means they only have visibility until early summer.

Fears of further Covid-19 restrictions and a rise in Bank of England interest rates are predicted to have the biggest impact on business in 2022 – at 18% and 22% for Scottish businesses respectively.

Andrew McNamara, head of business services and outsourcing for Scotland at BDO, said: “Scottish businesses are operating in an incredibly challenging landscape, with Covid, Brexit, inflationary increases and supply chain pressures combining to create a very complicated platform to do business from.

“It’s concerning but not surprising to see so many struggling to strategically plan more than six months in advance, given the complexities of the marketplace.

“The last two years have clearly demonstrated that plans need to be flexible,” he continued, adding: “It is often agility which gives businesses a competitive advantage, but creativity alone won’t sustain innovation and there needs to be a firm focus on planning and commercialising ideas if businesses are serious about growth and not losing ground to competitors.”

BDO’s research found that a third of respondents try to handle operations, growth, funding, talent and compliance internally with their existing team.

McNamara concluded: “When speaking to entrepreneurs in Scotland, it’s clear to see their ambition, talent and drive for success – businesses already face disproportionate challenges when it comes to issues like funding, talent and navigating red tape, but are consistently creative in overcoming these barriers.”

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