Scanning the horizon
...to ensure plain sailing in 2016
On the face of it 2016 looks like it will be a year of plain sailing for business. Low oil prices and interest rates are going to help in the short term as will continued easy access to alternative finance if you’ve got solid business plans - all driven by a strong head wind of economic buoyancy, strong enough to push aside any fears of a China-driven crash.
But watch out for the under currents. If you are a company owner the chances are you will pay more tax this year, with the changes to dividend taxes coming in this April. Our calculations suggest nearly everyone will be worse off. On top of this auto-enrolment will hit many and of course there is the rise in the national living wage to consider too.
Watch out too for surprise moves from bigger companies as well, in particular those who could take the wind out of someone else’s sails, whether they are suppliers or competitors. Consider cashed up Apple, who has already announced plans to have its “ultimate mobile device”, Titan the electronic car on the road by 2020. It is rumoured to have its eye on the battery giant Tesla, which would give it access to Tesla’s ground breaking battery technology - which in turn could change the entire energy infrastructure of the world.
OK, so that example may well not be relevant to you but if your business is innovative, profitable, with a strong brand and capacity to scale up, you could be a target this year for a larger company or private equity firm.
However if your plans are to stay at the helm and captain your own ship, this has to be a year of scanning the horizon for new technology that will drive up your productivity. This is going to be the best way for you to boost profits and stay one step ahead of the competition.
New technology sometimes takes us by surprise. After all who would have thought that drone racing will become the biggest new sport of 2016? Drones are small multicopters with four to eight rotors that in this sport are fitted with cameras that transmit real time to a headset and give the wearer the sensation of flying themselves. FPV (first person view) drone racing is set to become global allowing a new set of pilots to fly virtually in their own miniature cockpit!
So to sum up - 2016 will be a year of opportunity for those with the skill, determination and plans to set sail and navigate around the tricky waters. As always in business it is bound to be adventure.