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16:26 on Monday
18 November 2002

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Small firms signal economic hope


Economic gloom prompted by major job losses and falling profits at large companies could be misplaced, according to the managing director of Peterborough-based marketing and public relations consultancy Smye Holland Associates.

Michael Holland believes several recent surveys reveal there are plenty of good economic indicators coming from smaller firms and that companies which may be planning to cut their marketing expenditure could be making the wrong decision.

Among the good news stories is a report from Alliance & Leicester based on a survey of 500 small UK businesses. It found that 35 per cent were planning to increase their workforce over the next three months and 60 per cent were predicting 'no change'. Only 5 per cent were predicting a reduction in employment.

Another survey, conducted by K3 Business Technology Group among 1,600 small and medium sized UK enterprises, found that over three-quarters (77 per cent) said their business was growing and only 23 per cent said it was declining.

In addition, the CBI's quarterly UK economic survey predicts that the hard-pressed manufacturing industry will emerge from recession at the end of this year and that output growth will revive in 2002. The study reflects a similar analysis published in trade journal The Engineer at the end of last month.

“There is always a danger that business talks itself into a recession on the basis of a series of negative reports from high profile international corporations,” said Mr Holland. “However, many more companies are continuing at a high level of activity. For example, statistics from The London Internet Exchange - a Smye Holland Associates client - show that Internet traffic in the UK continues to rise, although more slowly than at the start of this year.

“These reports contain several positive messages. First, smaller firms seem better able to ride out economic turbulence when the going gets a little rough. Secondly, things are generally getting better - although that may take a while to feed through into big company profit figures.

“And finally, it suggests that those firms that have been holding back on marketing expenditure in fear of a forthcoming recession should now consider relaxing the purse strings and stealing a march on their more cautious competitors.”

September 2001

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Contact:
Mike Holland
Smye Holland Associates
63 Park Road
Peterborough
PE1 2TN
Tel: 01733 564906

Smye Holland Associates

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