Over the last few months, there has been much talk about rising costs and these are now filtering through to consumers with the UK’s annual inflation rate hitting 5.5% in January. However, this hides the truth of what is happening in some sectors. For example, the wholesale price of gas in January 2022 was almost four times higher than it was in early 2021. Plus, the current horrific situation in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctions against Russia are adding more pressure. Yet it’s not only consumers that are feeling the pinch. Rising costs are also affecting many businesses, with numerous factors contributing to the problem.
Contributing factors to rising costs for businesses
Import and export costs
Brexit bought a raft of changes for businesses importing and exporting, including an increase in costs. Many businesses are now finding it costs more to ship in goods, and there are additional sales taxes to pay on their exports.
The rising cost of energy has hit the news many times over recent months. It is not just household energy bills which have gone up. Businesses, too, are facing increasing costs. For example, some have found their bill has doubled within the space of three months. The rise of prices as businesses recover from two years of adapting to a pandemic has worsened the impact.
The rising cost of energy is also impacting raw materials. As they become more expensive to make, their purchase price rises too. Combine this with the possibility that businesses might also import these materials, and the costs add up. The result is a reduction in the profits businesses make, and them having to raise their own prices.
Of course, as soon as living costs go up, businesses and consumers look at ways of reducing their expenditure. The result is often fewer buyers and lower levels of spending. If a business also has to raise their prices, then this risks compounding the issue.
Supporting businesses to navigate the impact of rising costs
Just as we’ve supported businesses in navigating changes due to Brexit and the pandemic, we’re also supporting our members to find solutions to the rising costs they face. One of our main pillars is supporting local businesses with achieving growth through exporting goods. We offer a comprehensive package to help you go global, including training and support with paperwork. This helps you to keep costs down.
The Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce also offers advice about various funding options available. This could help businesses navigate rising costs, without holding back their growth. We not only keep abreast of national schemes but also those more local.
For many businesses, it’s important they get their voice heard. When local authorities or the government make decisions, it can sometimes feel like they are out of touch with how these things are affecting local businesses. That’s why we’re also involved in lobbying on a local, regional, and national level. We listen to our members’ views and make sure we share them with decision makers. That way, you can be sure they’re aware of the issues you face.
Finally, the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce prides itself on the relationships it develops between local businesses. By coming together to discuss these issues, businesses can discover how others are navigating them. Not only that, but they also support each other in finding solutions and growth opportunities.
Be a part of the business community
If you are a business struggling to navigate the rising cost of living, then you are not alone. Together, the business community can find solutions both short and long term. While it might seem like we’re weathering one storm after another, business growth is still more than possible. Our members are proof of what businesses can achieve, and they are proactive in supporting each other. If you would like to join us, simply visit https://www.chamber-business.com/become-a-member-of-bedfordshire-chamber-of-commerce and complete the online form, or call us on 01582 522 448.