2016 — What a Year!

2016 is almost at an end, and what a year it’s been! Every year has plenty happening, but not usually such extremes. We’re finishing the year with plenty of uncertainty, but we’re business-people — it’s up to us to turn uncertainties into opportunities.

Events of 2016

The world hasn’t been a safe place for some time, but conflict across the Middle East and the migrant crisis have got worse during 2016, while the increase of international terrorism has polarised opinion. Several countries have experienced political upsets, none greater than Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential election. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be as extreme in office as he was campaigning.

And we had our own political bombshell in June, where predictions were overturned and we voted to leave the EU. No-one knows how it’s going to play out — whether we’ll have a “hard” or “soft” Brexit, and even who’s going to start the process. It’s likely to remain up in the air for some time — though one result of the referendum is that we now have our second female prime minister.

The list of people we’ve lost seems longer than most years — among many others, iconic musicians such as David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen, great actors like Alan Rickman and Gene Wilder, “national treasures” Sir Terry Wogan and Victoria Wood, and “The Greatest”, Muhammad Ali. We’ve no doubt also gained people who’ll be special in the future, but we’ll only know that in retrospect.

It hasn’t all been gloom, though. In August, the UK had its best Olympics medal tally for a century (including two more golds for Hertfordshire’s Laura Trott), while Andy Murray enjoyed a triumphant year, including a second Wimbledon title, ending as world number one.

2016 and Business

Despite all the uncertainties, there are clear signs the economy’s improving, especially for SMEs that are willing to be imaginative and seize the initiative. I’m in a position to see a microcosm of the national situation in the local (and sometimes less local) businesses I help to find leads.

Though, like all years, 2016 has seen fluctuations, with some very bad weeks, overall I’ve seen some great companies reaching out and grasping new opportunities. The business is there, if you work hard for it.

2017 and Beyond

The uncertainties aren’t going to go away anytime soon, but nor are the opportunities. I wish all of you exciting growth in the New Year — and I hope I’ll be able to play a part in helping some of you achieve it.

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