Wow! Stuff founder Richard North gives his predictions for the year ahead:I’ll remember 2011 for… being fortunate enough to score a hat trick in the toy industry with three blockbuster toys. Against a dire economic climate we performed above average. 2012 will be great because… we will focus on international market expansion. 2012 will show significant return on our investments in Europe and North America as our business doubles in size. One sector we’ll hear a lot from next year will be… the online retail sector. It is likely to be one of the most talked about sectors, as well as its effect on traditional bricks and mortar. Amazon will again increase its market share across the categories it enters and those that it occupies. Retail businesses will have to up the ante with better in-store theatre and product differentiation. Working with suppliers to utilize each others strengths for the benefit of both will help deliver this. The one thing that would help me grow my business in 2012 would be… continued great support from our bankers HSBC. Compared with other banks, they have been excellent at seeing the big picture and helping us with our international sales growth; in both financial terms and contacts. I hope other banks take a deeper interest and commercial understanding with SMEs and don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are many great businesses that will suffer during this downturn and they need a bank that will stay with them through this tough period. They will be rewarded when the upturn comes as I feel entrepreneurs are very good at rewarding loyalty. My New Year’s resolution for 2012 is… a secret! That’s a difficult question to answer as I’d hate to disclose too many personal faults that I’d like to put right. Real Business will be running the “My 2012” series for the next month, bringing you top entrepreneurs’ views and predictions of the year ahead.
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