Cheshire businesses need to be positive but also realistic

By Rich Wilcock

15th Feb 2023 | SME's and Start-Ups

Darren Gallimore, FSB's Cheshire Membership Advisor is positive despite of current economy
Darren Gallimore, FSB's Cheshire Membership Advisor is positive despite of current economy

Small businesses in Cheshire are struggling, but there are reasons to be hopeful. This is the opinion of Darren Gallimore, of South Cheshire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Darren has been the Membership Co-Ordinator of FSB Cheshire for seven years and he believes that now is one of the toughest times small businesses have faced in his time.

"There is no doubt that companies are struggling, I see that all the time. It was a fine balance before, but the scales are imbalanced now, with interest rates, business loans, and mortgages, companies that have traded for years, generations even, can no longer trade, that's whom I feel sorry for."

The economic climate currently has created a perfect storm with prices rocketing in several areas, all creating a very difficult environment for small businesses to keep going but the price of fuel and energy is the area that is being affected most currently according to Darren.

"Fuel most definitely is the big issue currently. I am getting a lot of people coming to me saying the cost of heating their businesses, and energy is major. They are worried about fuelling their cars, and delivery vans, and most businesses that I work with need a vehicle to get around, so I would absolutely say the cost of energy is the biggest issue."

However, Darren is keen to stress that Cheshire companies are responding to the difficulties to ensure that they survive.

"A lot of companies were originally not keen on passing on the costs, but they've had to."

Small businesses he believes are more open to passing on savings to customers, likely because they feel they need to, to keep custom but he believes the current crisis has meant they've had to adjust.

"It's good to see that they do respond to what's around them," Darren says.

Whilst passing on costs to customers is the last thing small businesses want to do, showing flexibility will help them in the long run.

The impact of COVID on SMEs cost the British economy £126bn and thousands of businesses suffered long-term or terminal damage and the FSB is, he believes a key cog in helping small companies in tough times, which was best highlighted during the pandemic.

"We started our first online event a week after lockdown and we didn't know what we were doing, and slowly during that time, it has developed into a nice crisp offering for us. We set up our dedicated COVID hotline which we offered to members and non-members, and it was crucial to so many people."

The support that the FSB can offer is one of its biggest features according to Darren and its evolution into an organisation that offers support on each member's journey through business means that its value is crucial to businesses.

But one of the best things about SMEs in Cheshire is that they will support each other.

"Businesses support each other, people genuinely want to help people and when you look at these towns, they want to offer a service of quality, and that's right across the county. In Cheshire, there are a lot of one-man bands and small businesses, and the camaraderie people show is incredible."

Inflation nationally is coming down with new figures released by the Office of National Statistics putting inflation at 10.1%, coupled with the Bank of England's projection that the recession will be short, the year ahead is a little more positive. Given, in Darren's view, Cheshire East's businesses' camaraderie and flexibility, the view that positive realism is needed could quite well be the best outlook.

Follow Cheshire Business Nub on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn


Related Articles

Siân Pelleschi, President of APDO and Founder of Sorted! (Image - Sian Pelleschi)
SME's and Start-Ups

A week in my life with Sian Pelleschi, Owner of decluttering business, Sorted!

Small business confidence is at pandemic levels and the Chancellor's spring statement is an opportunity to change that according to FSB's Daren Shaw (Image - Unsplash)
SME's and Start-Ups

The government needs to take action to help small businesses

Sign-Up for our FREE Newsletter

We want to provide Congleton with more and more clickbait-free local news.
To do that, we need a loyal newsletter following.
Help us survive and sign up to our FREE weekly newsletter.

Already subscribed? Thank you. Just press X or click here.
We won't pass your details on to anyone else.
By clicking the Subscribe button you agree to our Privacy Policy.