When all around you lose their heads...

According to one exceptionally cheery report, one in 56 businesses in the UK will fail this year, compared with one in 87 last year. That’s an increase of 59%. Thanks, BDO Stoy Hayward.

But fear not fellow business-starters and owners. Because there are a few things here that are going to bring you solace – or, at least, that you can use to your advantage.

Firstly, there is also the stat flying around the national press at the moment that there are ten people for every one vacancy advertised. Which, shocking and sad is it is, means that there is a wealth of talent out there looking for work. And you can employ them – for a significantly lower salary than would’ve been demanded during the boomtime.

If employing someone full-time doesn’t seem like the most financially plausible option right now, get someone in part-time or on contract. They want the work, and you can get some vital expertise to drive an area of your business forward for a cheaper rate.

And now, if you can, is the best time to try to get ahead of competitors. When all those around you are cutting back on marketing and ad spend efforts, you can grab a big market share.

That doesn’t mean spending frivolously – it means being creative with what you can afford. Again, making the most of all those highly skilled people who have been made redundant, even for just a bit of consultancy work, is advisable here.

And not all the news is bad – London’s retail sales were up last month. Like-for-like sales went up 5.9% (although it’s worth remembering it was half term in February).

Let’s hope that that trend spreads out from the capital.

And if Hernando de Soto’s word is anything to go by – Bill Clinton called him the world’s greatest living economist – we have the potential to climb out of the recession within a couple of months anyway.

Not that this will be of particular comfort to those businesses who do have the extreme misfortune of going out of business. But perhaps, hopefully, they’ll be able to see that opportunities will start coming their way again soon.

And entrepreneurs never give up!

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