News that the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has raised its forecast for the UK economy confirms the optimism I’ve seen amongst the managing director members of my organisation, MD2MD, for some time. And indeed a recent straw poll survey of our members gave the same 0.9% expectation. Eurozone fears apart, for a long time our members have seen the outlook as positive, though subdued, predicting growth for the foreseeable future. They see this as the ‘new normal’.
They are, though, much more positive about the situation than the BCC. Our members believe that slow, steady growth is not a disaster. It’s apparent that life is difficult for a significant majority, but a tough market actually improves the economy for the long term.
If, to be successful, a business has to do a good job – indeed a great job – for its customers, then customers have choice. So, a tough economy tends to sort the good from the bad, with only the better businesses surviving and prospering. Tough though it is, business failure is a necessary part of the market economy that most people in this country believe in. Businesses that fail to deliver a decent product or service that delivers value to their consumers have to fail themselves for the market economy to work and society to benefit.
The unfortunate reality is that, during the boom times, the oversupply of cash as a result of poor lending meant it was possible to survive without really giving value and without really being efficient and effective. We should not be wishing ourselves back to this time or business ethos.
So, I welcome a proper competitive market – with winners and losers – that develops and supports well-run, efficient and effective businesses that deliver great value to their customers over the long term in return for their profit.
Through MD2MD I meet many managing directors every month and most business leaders are, in my experience, passionate about their business and are trying to do a great job for their customers, while being good employers of their staff and good citizens in the community. They plan to be there for the long term. They understand that they are part of that community and can only prosper if the community prospers.
Let’s welcome a return to a market economy where the ethic of “I succeed and earn a good living by delivering real long-term value to you and to society” is prized over the selfish “I can get rich quick without working hard and giving value back” ethic that emerged in both private and public sectors around the millennium.
Written by Bob Bradley, chairman of SME membership organisation MD2MD