By INÊS LOPES [email protected]
Optimism, good planning and professionalism are vital if businesses in the Algarve are to survive the current global economic crisis.
That was the primary message to around 80 foreign business owners from a panel of local experts at a seminar organised by the Almancil Business Association last week at the Laguna Mar Suites in Almancil.
The event, Meeting and Beating the Economic Crisis, which was supported by the Algarve Resident, aimed to shed new light onto a subject that will not go away soon.
Guest speaker Sheena Rawcliffe, managing director of the Resident group of newspapers, was keen to bring some optimism into the room and advised business owners to see this phase as a new challenge and a time to rethink company strategy.
“Are you positioned where you want to be? Do you know your company?” Sheena asked. “I have come across people who don’t even know their own companies, let alone their market.”
Positioning, positivity, professionalism and planning were Sheena’s words of advice. “Keep optimistic, know your company, plan the future but make sure that you always provide a quality service no matter what,” she said.
To ensure that a company keeps a healthy cash flow at this difficult time, tough measures may need to be taken.
Sheena said: “If you have to resize your company, then so be it. Take action now. It will be for the benefit of the company and those who work within it.”
Event organiser Aníbal Moreno, of accountancy company ORGAlgarve in Almancil, shared a similar view.
“It is better to lay off a couple of employees than to have to close down the company and 15 people are left jobless.”
However, he stressed that “bosses must communicate with their staff regularly” so that there are no surprises in the future.
Words like economic growth and development are being replaced by recession, crisis and stagnation, with the media frequently reporting cases of bankruptcy.
With banks making it harder for small and medium sized enterprises to access credit despite government guarantees, some companies are just keeping their heads above the water.
Scarce incentives mean businesses need to look at other ways of surviving the crisis.
Aníbal Moreno said: “Companies have to save money where they can in order to keep a healthy balance sheet. Is your phone bill too high? Renegotiate with your telephone operator.”
Roy Whitehouse of WIS International said that, in just one month, his company was assigned to collect debts amounting to 1.5 million euros.
“If you are owed money by a company or individual, you can take legal action,” he said.
“However, be prepared to be dragged through the courts, with some cases taking years, and spending great deals of money on legal fees.”
Roy suggested an initial personal approach with the debtor in which a payment plan can be discussed.
Dr Thomas Kaiser of the Family Medical Centre spoke of alternatives to the sun and sea as well as prescribing a good dose of optimism.
“Investors should look at the Algarve’s potential as a top spa destination,” he said.
For more information about the Almancil Business Association, please visit the website by clicking the link on the right of this page (partly in English).
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