Cambridgeshire business leaders are feeling positive and investing in the future, according to a survey we conducted at our recent Cambridgeshire Limited event. Hazel Platt summarises what we learned from our network.
Of the 165 local businesses who attended our recent Cambridgeshire Limited panel and audience discussion, organised in partnership with Mills & Reeve, 63% told us they were feeling more positive about the future than they were in April. Only 17% said they were less positive.
Investing in the future is a priority for the region, with 75% of attendees saying their plan for the next six months is to be braveand invest in new technology and processes.
Discussion panellist Matt McLoughlin, Senior Investment Manager at Foresight Group, told leaders at the event: “Now, more than ever, we need strong leadership at both a business and government level. The poll results show that we can look forward boldly, as business leaders are developing the confidence to take calculated risks, invest in the future and maximise opportunities.”
To help build resilience in Cambridgeshire over the long term, we invite local businesses to join our Business Leader forum, which has been set up to help leaders connect and share ideas with each other during an informal ‘roundtable’. These virtual events provide great insight and inspiring stories about how local businesses have adapted during exceptional circumstances.
This an opportunity for business leaders to take back control. The challenges of the last six months have provided businesses with the chance to reset and take a fresh look at operating models.
For example, the poll results show that 71% of business leaders expect to need less office space as we head into 2021. The inference that people will continue to be given the flexibility to work on their own terms should open up opportunities to those who can’t or don’t want to follow a traditional working pattern. It should also allow business leaders to recruit from a much more geographically dispersed talent pool, but without a detrimental impact on the environment.
Stephen Hamilton, Partner at Mills & Reeve, said: “This is a great insight into the way the people driving our region’s economy are feeling during these uncertain times. I’m really encouraged to see that business leaders are feeling positive and are thinking about the calculated risks they can take. It will be so important to see, over the next few months, positive investment in the future that not only benefits organisations but also the people who work in and call Cambridgeshire home.”
No common concern for Cambridge businesses
The International Business Report we conducted in April saw leaders concerned about keeping their staff safe, motivated and able to do their jobs. However, our new poll showed a more-diverse range of concerns. When asked what was most likely to keep them awake at night, only 28% of responders said keeping staff safe was their biggest concern, while the same number said the coming recession, and 26% were looking at the implications of Brexit.
It's encouraging to hear that business leaders are generally feeling more positive about the future than they were six months ago. Although there is still a long way to go with challenges ahead, I can’t help but be excited for the region, knowing that we have so many brave and resilient business leaders who are looking to drive forwards the local economy, despite the current uncertainties. With cautious bravery we can make sure our region comes out of this pandemic in a positive position.
For support and advice in investing in the future of your Cambridgeshire business, contact Hazel Platt.