THE TYPICAL BUSINESS LANDSCAPE OF A UK TOWN
Across the 7,700 towns and cities the length and breadth of the nation, there are 5.2million businesses, 99% of which are classified as small or medium. Last year saw around half a million new companies incorporated, whilst around 200,000 ceased trading. But do you know which of these are likely to be around at the end of 2015?
Crediton, a town in central Devon, is fairly typical of a UK town. With a population of 7,500 it is close to the UK average, and it supports around 700 companies who on average have been around since 2001, employ 5 people each, and generate close to £400,000 worth of sales per year.
In the UK, 73% of all businesses are within the services sector, and the breakdown of industries within Crediton, with the exception of the important local farming community which makes up 5% of all businesses, is also typical of a UK town. Estate Agents are the most populous group (with 8% of companies within the real estate sector), followed by Business Services (5%), Computer Services (4%) and Engineering (4%).
But do you know which of these industries are at the highest financial risk? And which might cause you or your business financial difficulties?
According to credit score data, the highest risk industries in a typical UK town are Residential Construction, followed by the supportive trades of Electricians & Plumbers. This isn’t perhaps surprising given the economic downturn and the typical delayed reaction that this has upon the construction industry, which resulted in the construction industry being the worst hit for insolvencies in the first part of 2014.
A high risk company is likely to pay its bills late and there’s a greater probability that they won’t be around to pay their bills at all, so there’s a distinct advantage to people who know who’s most likely to default.
The good news comes if you operate or trade with Farms, Non-Durable Goods businesses (cleaning products, office supplies, etc…) or Estate Agents, as these carry the lowest financial risk, which means they’ll be around to pay you and should continue to operate as viable trading partners.
Of course, not all construction companies are at risk, and not all estate agents are reliable (!), so you should always try and find out more about companies who you interact with. This is where CreditHQ comes into play!
To create an account is completely free of charge, and will give you access to the full details of a company (address, directors, formation date etc) plus credit and payment indicators which show if a business is at high, medium or low risk regarding their credit rating and when they pay their invoices. The Standard subscription provides subscribers with CreditHQ’s innovative Insight Engine which takes complicated financial data and presents it to the small business customer in an easy-to-understand way, providing not only a rating out of 10 but more importantly advice on how to respond to this information. For example, you might want to decrease the amount of credit you’re offering to a business who’s struggling, or redefine your payment terms with that company, and vice versa for a customer or supplier who have moved from high risk to low risk as they grow and improve their business.
Check out how your trading partners are doing on www.credithq.co.uk and at the same time make sure you’re keeping an eye on your own business so you know what other businesses are seeing about you.