Cash flow issues still of most concern

As recessionary pressures continue to bite and are clearly impacting on the survival of the nation’s small and medium sized firms, a number of construction business owners and managers are remaining resolute in spite of the ongoing challenge.

In fact, almost a third (31%) of business owners in the construction industry are refusing to let the recession get them down, saying it has had no impact on their personal lives, according to new research from independent financier Bibby Financial Services.

The research demonstrates how many construction business owners are standing firm in face of adversity, managing their business as they have always done and ensuring their personal lives do not suffer too much as a result:

• 62% are refusing to cut out luxuries, such as Blackberries or company vehicles, which they clearly see as essential

• 77% are continuing with holiday plans or other time off

• 71% are not getting any less sleep

• 70% are not seeing any less of their family

• 91% are maintaining a healthy lifestyle

• Just 11% are drinking more alcohol

Jason Heath, construction finance specialist for Bibby Financial Services said: “Some might consider a Blackberry or company vehicle a luxury but for many construction business owners today these are simply essentials which are helping with the day to day running of their business.

“Whereas previously business owners in the industry may have been prepared to neglect their personal lives in order to sustain their business, these days they recognise the importance of trying to maintain some sort of work life balance, instead seeing time away from the business, such as holiday, as a tool to help them survive.

“However, while it's good to see business owners in the sector remaining positive, they also need to be prudent financially to get through the downturn and not completely throw caution to the wind. With 80% of construction business owners now scrutinising finances more carefully it’s clear cash flow remains king. Luckily there are still plenty of ways for the industry’s business owners to stay on top of cash flow issues and ensure those close to them don’t suffer in the process.”

Indeed, 92% of business owners in the construction sector polled say they have learned something new from the experience of this recession. Indeed, 42% have learned to keep a closer eye on cash flow; 14% have learned to plan better for the future and 18% say they have become more shrewd.

Jason Heath concluded: “Given the figures show most construction business owners are learning and developing new traits and skills from this recession, once current cash flow issues begin to ease we should see the emergence of a new nation of stronger business owners – hopefully ones whose families don’t become too neglected in the process.”