Of course, in the real world where people running businesses actually operate, rather than the desk-based enclaves inhabited by statisticians, it makes no odds what the figures say; times are tough and the battle continues.
However, when media commentators and economic “experts” start to circle around an injured economy, ready to pick off another pound of flesh, it spreads a disease of uncertainty and insecurity, which causes many business people to become even more cautious and hold off plans for growth and job creation.
Looking at it simply, which I know will upset the economists who like to blind us all with ratios and jargon, the economy is pretty much flat lining and has been for some time.
The figures for quarter three, which showed growth of 0.9 per cent, were skewed by the recovery from the previous quarter’s weakness, caused by the Jubilee and additional bank holiday. If figures do drop on Friday by the predicted half a percent or so, then we’ll pretty much be where we were this time last year.
But despite the figures, there are businesses out there that are doing well. They have cut their cloth accordingly and reacted quickly to changes in the economic landscape. I am proud to say that Pimlico Plumbers is among those companies, and I know that we are not alone.
It’s the job of these businesses to continue to drive forward and demonstrate to other firms that they can succeed too. While their sales growth may not look like their impacting on the GDP figures, they are making a difference where it really counts: in their local area, where they are creating jobs, selling products and services, and paying taxes.
I’ve always said that the GDP figures are rear-view economics and businesses shouldn’t pay too much attention to them. But, of course, we do, and we let them badly affect how we feel about business and the future.
Therefore, when the quarter three figures were published, I urged businesses to treat the fact we were “officially” out of recession as an adrenalin injection that would send a wave of positivity and confidence through their firms.
If the figures aren’t good this Friday, my message stays the same. Work hard, make your business a success, create jobs and train people for the future.
When the politicians and others finally get the economy back on track, you’ll be in the best position to benefit from the economy, when it really does grow.
Charlie Mullins is founder and CEO of Pimlico Plumbers.
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