Ernst & Young has unveiled ‘Seizing Opportunities: redefining growth in a turbulent economy,’ a study that demonstrates the aggressive and acquisitions oriented approach of entrepreneurial companies to the economic downturn.
The survey, conducted among 3,100 finalists of its Entrepreneur Of The Year program from around the world, shows that 67% of the world’s best entrepreneurs are pursuing new market opportunities. Their second priority (40%) is to improve performance.
Entrepreneurs surveyed represent more than 50 countries, covering more than 90% of the global economy. The clear message is that they are focusing on the positives and looking for strategic growth.
Findings confirm that despite current pressures, 40% of surveyed entrepreneurs have not increased focus on cash generation from operations and reshaping their business is not a high priority (16%). This indicates that they have sufficient cash reserves or can access alternate sources of cash to approach opportunities.
Michael Hasbani, Head of Strategic Growth Markets, Ernst & Young Middle East, said: “The survey revealed that, in order to withstand the downturn, entrepreneurs are optimizing activity in six areas – customer, transactions, people, operations, finance and risk.
They realize that some customers will fall away during tough times and 80% are increasing focus on re-negotiating contracts and managing customer bankruptcy. Their approach to transactions is to cautiously raise capital (68%), renew their focus on seeking mergers and acquisitions (80%) and divest non-core assets to realize capital (74%). Seen from another perspective, the downturn has opened up space in all local and global markets. Companies that cannot adapt to the new circumstances will be replaced by exceptional enterprises that are better able to adjust to new realities.”
Adapting to new realities has driven entrepreneurs to bring in changes such as rewarding key people (89%) and increasing productivity through reduced costs (90%) and decreasing investments in capital projects (29%).
Nevertheless, there is a split over whether to increase or decrease exposure to risk — the majority of surveyed entrepreneurs have retained their encouragement and reward of measured risk-taking. 92% have confirmed that they are creating early warning systems for financial distress. They overwhelmingly recognize that companies need processes to deal with problems before they can threaten strategic directions.
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