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Lack of long-term planning, a barrier to growth in the South East – BDO report

By Karolina Skinner
4 October 2021

Two fifths of the companies surveyed are only planning six months ahead, which means they only have visibility until March next year, according to BDO’s The Ambitious Entrepreneur: Tackling Your Barriers to Growth Report.

The latest report, which looks at barriers to growth for entrepreneurial businesses, has revealed 70% of companies are only planning nine months ahead, despite ambitions to launch new products and services; three quarters are lacking confidence that their strategy is future-proof.

More than three quarters of companies shared that they are likely, to some degree, to test out new business ideas or innovate this year and next, but 21% recognise a lack of planning will prohibit this innovation. 

Partner at BDO in the South East, Duncan Berry said: "Ambitious, entrepreneurial businesses underpin our regional economy across all sectors and will be key to the UK’s future economic prosperity, as well as a driver for levelling up. It’s concerning but not surprising to see so many struggling to strategically plan more than six months in advance. 

"The last 20 months have demonstrated that plans need to be flexible. For this type of business, it is often their agility, which gives them a competitive advantage. However, 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.

Berry concluded: "When speaking to these businesses in the South East, the ambition and talent is clear. The region’s dynamic 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. 

"I’d urge entrepreneurial businesses in the region not to get in the way of their own potential by taking a short-term or inward view and seek the support they need to build a longer-term strategy that will allow them to innovate and maintain a competitive advantage."

BDO surveyed over 225 businesses in the United Kingdom to gauge the types of growing pains they have experienced in 2020, while also looking to get a view into how they plan to approach their corporate strategy and growth plans in 2021-2022. The survey was fielded in September 2021 and targeted entrepreneurial businesses with a total of 11 to 250 employees. More specifically, the survey targeted the following job functions/roles within these businesses: founders, owners, partners, CEOs, Finance Directors and CFOs.

About BDO

BDO LLP is an accountancy and business advisory firm that provides integrated advice and solutions to help businesses navigate a changing world. It operates in 18 offices across the UK, employing 6,000 people offering tax, audit and assurance, and a range of advisory services. BDO LLP is the UK member firm of the BDO international network.

BDO’s global network

The BDO global network provides business advisory services in 167 countries, with 91,000 people working out of 1,658 offices worldwide. It has revenues of $10.3bn. 

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