Business leaders closely observing the current economic and political situation in the UK currently would be forgiven for wondering whether to switch to a more cautious business strategy, or even whether to invest at all. While some caution may be warranted, the phrase “fortune favours the brave” may be more pertinent than ever. History shows us that some very successful businesses emerge in times of relative turmoil – take Groupon for example, which grew from almost nothing to expand into 35 countries during the 2008 downturn.
If the more pessimistic forecasts come to fruition in 2019, the business landscape of the UK may be reshaped, with many seeing a potential shift towards economic growth in the north, as London loses its lustre. Indeed, a strategic move towards the business heartlands of the north is what many businesses have already taken the decision to do – and many more are eyeing up – in large part to cut costs and take advantage of the concentration of specialist knowledge and academic research.
In this article we will look at the opportunities available for new and existing businesses in the North East region, and how heads of businesses can steer their enterprises to success by driving competitive advantage by virtue of their location and a strong sales and marketing strategy.
Many reasons for business optimism in the North East
Even with the backdrop of Brexit in 2019, the future looks bright for the North East economy. A closer look at the regions within the North East reveals the many reasons for optimism:
In the Autumn 2018 budget, Philip Hammond announced the UK’s first ‘special economic area’ at the former SSI steelworks in Teesside, which will be backed by an investment of £14m. In addition, £16.5m was pledged to revitalise rail transport in Darlington and Middlesbrough.
Sunderland is now home to one of the four locations for the Digital Catapult network, which promotes the development and early adoption of advanced digital technology through the provision of specialist facilities, innovations programmes, collaboration, and funding. This initiative has recently benefited from an investment boost of £115m.
On 1st November 2018, a devolution deal for the North of Tyne region was approved by Parliament which means £600m of investment will be made by the government (£20m each year for 30 years). The deal will benefit the three authorities within the Tyne area – Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. The investment is expected to create an extra £1.1b and 10,000 new jobs within the local economy. On the day of the announcement, North Tyneside’s Mayor, Norma Redfearn CBE stated, “this is a historic day for the region. The North of Tyne area already boasts one of the fastest growing economies and job rates anywhere in the UK and this will offer us greater opportunities to grow and develop”.
It will come as no surprise to hear that Leeds is a strong engine of economic prosperity. In December 2018, it was announced that Leeds City Region is well on the way to becoming one of the world’s first zero-carbon energy economies due in large part to a new energy strategy. By investing heavily in clean energies, the region expects to add £11b to the region’s economy and 10,000 new jobs.
In addition, the UK Powerhouse report showed that employment growth in Leeds was the highest of all UK cities with a 2.3% annual increase. According to the same report, Leeds is in a strong position due to its diverse economy, with a large number of jobs in the finance and business services, retail, leisure, tourism, construction, manufacturing, and the creative and digital sectors.
Seeing the vast potential in the Leeds, many large organisations have relocated there, including Channel 4 in October 2018, and the area is already home to Asda Walmart, Arla Foods, Capita, and First Direct.
The Northern Powerhouse
The North East of England will play a pivotal role in the Northern Powerhouse, the initiative launched by former Chancellor George Osborne in 2014 to balance financial prosperity within the UK by shifting the locus from London. While the project has not progressed as much as had hoped, it is very much back on the agenda. According to the Guardian in July 2018, Theresa May reaffirmed her commitment to the Northern Powerhouse, confirming the availability of funding, including £780m for an upgrade of the east coast mainline. Specific projects which will be driven by the Northern Powerhouse in the North East include a new Tees crossing, the Sheffield innovation corridor, renewing the Sheffield super trams, a smart ticketing system for public transport across the north, and a considerable investment in ‘Superfast broadband’.
Capitalising on the vast business opportunities in the North East
There is little doubt that the business possibilities available in the North East are both exciting and vast. For business leaders considering expansion or relocation to the North East region, while the conditions are in place to encourage businesses to flourish, to do so will necessitate the creation of a robust sales and marketing strategy to attract and retain a loyal client base.
Moving to the North East offers considerable benefits to both employees and clients alike. In comparison to London, Surrey, and the South in general, employees will be able to achieve a stronger work-life balance and will have the best chance of meeting personal goals such as buying a home. And happy employees are more likely to stay with their employer in the long-term, provide a better service to clients, and be more loyal and creative.
Businesses based in the North East may also be more centrally located in the UK, when compared to those in the South of the country, meaning improved proximity to clients – which can in turn benefit the sales, account management, delivery, and support functions of your operation.
If you are a business leader already in, or thinking of relocating to the North East, given the evidence above, there are many reasons to be optimistic about future business performance and growth. Having chosen your location and product or service offering, it is then essential to develop a business strategy which will allow you to reach your prospective clients and generate robust sales. At Reach Revenue, we have helped many businesses located in the North East to achieve sales success. Let us show you how.
Reach Revenue works with business owners, leaders and investors to develop high performing sales and marketing teams aligned to the strategic objectives of their business. To find out how we can help you, please call 0203 858 8030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org