Cheshire and Warrington business have expressed confidence for a successful year ahead despite citing customer demand, energy costs and staff recruitment and retention as the three biggest challenges for 2024.
Tailor-made workshops will now be delivered to support businesses by Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s Growth Hub on the back of its survey data which found that 50% of those questioned are either very or somewhat confident about their prospects for the next 12 months.
Only 9% said they had no confidence at all for the year ahead with 60% of those surveyed saying they would happily enlist expert support – with sales and marketing assistance topping the list for areas requiring third party assistance.
Just under 70 businesses took part in the survey – and key findings included:
Fears over reduced customer demand was identified as the biggest challenge with 48% of those completing the survey at the end of October saying they were facing challenges in this area.
Energy costs and retaining and recruiting staff also remain a challenge with just over a third of participants (33%) citing both areas as an issue.
Wide-ranging concerns expressed in the survey ranged from concerns about increased running costs to frustration with red tape and challenges finding affordable premises.
Those surveyed were also asked additional questions relating to transport with 20% of businesses taking part saying they struggled to recruit staff because of transport links.
Other issues cited included commute time amid congestion on the roads and over reliance on cars; lack of access in some areas to train stations and infrequent or non-existent bus services; travel provision impacting on the ability to recruit – particularly for those under 30 who may not drive, the price of parking and calls for better wi-fi and cycling infrastructure
Paul Chapman, Manager of Cheshire and Warrington LEP’s Growth Hub, which provides bespoke support to businesses of any size and sector said: “We really value the feedback from all those who took part and it is helps us develop an even better understanding of their needs and priorities so we can act upon it and ensure we put the right support in place.”
Tailor-made Growth Hub packages in light of the findings will include a series of sales and marketing workshops starting this month – more details on the Cheshire and Warrington LEP website.