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The Business Magazine July 2024
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Oxford and Chilterns SMEs pull together to tackle downturn

The Business Magazine article image for: Oxford and Chilterns SMEs pull together to tackle downturn
5 October 2022

SMEs across Oxford and the North Chilterns are pulling together to protect their businesses following the Bank of England’s confirmation that Britain is in recession and the pound slipping to a record low against the dollar.

The Alternative Board (TAB) members are utilising their monthly sessions with the Oxford-based advisory board to share strategies and mitigate increasing business pressures.

A recent survey by TAB revealed that 82 per cent of SME business owners don’t have a clear idea where cuts can be made to reduce financial overheads.

TAB business owner James Ross (pictured), who runs the advisory board sessions has been swift to act in ensuring Oxford entrepreneurs receive the support and advice they need to continue their valid contribution to the local economy.

“Running a business can be lonely at the best of times and never more so than when facing a downturn which is why it’s vital our members continue to meet and talk openly about the pressures they are facing,” said James.

“Oxford has a fantastically diverse SME community and it’s vital that these smaller local employers are supported through a recession so that job losses are mitigated, and they can continue to deliver the entrepreneurial flair and innovation that bring so much diversity to our region.

“Particular challenges we are already seeing in Oxford include wage inflation as businesses fight to retain key employees, rising prices and uncertain future demand. We are helping businesses to tackle this through specific sessions at advisory boards and by launching a Recession Ready Hub of support materials.”

TAB member Scott Buckle CEO of Mediaport Solutions added: “It’s impossible to escape the gloomy economic outlook but it’s also vital that we as local SME owners maintain a positive and proactive approach.

"TAB provides a great space for airing concerns in a Chatham House rules environment among peers who often share similar experiences and can provide great advice from a local perspective.

"It was hugely beneficial in helping me steer my business through the Pandemic and it’s great to have the support of this community of fellow SMEs to help ensure my mindset remains positive towards these challenging times.”

With peer-to-peer support central to the commercial success enjoyed by TAB members across Oxford, the company has pooled together advice from its business owners who experienced the country’s last big recession in 2008.

All believe being part of TAB will help them survive the next recession.

TAB has utilised these expert insights to create a free Recession Ready online hub to help SMEs across the UK prepare for a downturn.

Featuring business guides and insights, an ‘8 ways to get recession ready’ blog, plus a Recession Ready quiz, the free resources can be found at www.thealternativeboard.co.uk/recession-ready-resource-hub.


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Peter Davison is deputy editor of The Business Magazine. He has spent his life in journalism – doing work experience in newsrooms in and around Bristol while still at school, and landing his first job on a local newspaper aged 19. By 28 he was the youngest newspaper editor in the country.

An early advocate of online news, he spent the first years of the 2000s telling his bosses that the internet posed both the biggest opportunity and greatest threat to the newspaper industry and the art of journalism. He was right on both counts.

Since 2006 he has enjoyed a career as a freelance journalist. He lives in rural Wiltshire with one wife, two children, and three cats.

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