Swatting the flies

first_imgYou can tell it’s summer: There are more flies and they can be a darned nuisance. They are part of a chain – the bit of the ‘circle of life’ that Disney tastefully doesn’t mention – that deals with decay and destruction.All businesses, and sometimes entire industries, have a life cycle. Those with long memories will be able to reel off the names of operators no longer in business.There are many reasons for their demise, including changing local economies and travel patterns, through to bad decisions, poor financial planning or a basic failure to be compliant.A quick SWOT analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for your business is something an outsider might do if you’re looking to sell your business, or an investor might consider if you’re looking to raise cash.The first two should be relatively easy to list, if you’re close to your business but open-minded enough to accept that not everything is perfect. Opportunities come in many forms and can often be less predictable, but threats?In this case it can depend as much on where you operate geographically, as on other factors. The London ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) means that you’ll either have to have Euro 6 coaches and minibuses in the capital from 2019, or pay a daily charge that could add around £6 per seat, per trip.For bus operators, the threat might come from back-door re-regulation via franchises.But our latest poll of operators reveals that direct political action, such as the ULEZ or Bus Services Bill, is not your greatest worry. A massive 43% responded that the ‘biggest threat to your business’ is a shortage of drivers. The ULEZ is cited by only 9% as the biggest threat, while Brexit (24%) and economic slowdown (17%) are the other major concerns.And the rest? It’s a lack of capital.Are these some of the threats to your business, or are you feeling more positive? Whatever the answer, please e-mail me and tell me what you think.This was a simple question, with a choice of five answers. If threats are like flies, then it’s likely that you’ve got more than one buzzing around your office at the moment. Time to get the fly swat out.Mel Holley, Editorlast_img

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